Tuesday, August 29, 2017

1 Racing Mind's 2017 Formula 1 Summer Break Report Card: Sauber F1 Team

Photo Credit: Sauber F1® Team / Sauber Motorsport AG 

Team Grade: C-

Driver Grades
Pascal Wehrlein: C+
Marcus Ericsson: D

Part of the Formula 1 grid since 1993, Peter Sauber gave up ownership of his team in the late part of 2016. Now controlled by Longbow Finance (a Swiss-based investment firm), the new owners and managers of the motorsport group appear intent to maintain the Sauber F1 Team branding. For 2017, the team acknowledges 25 years of competition in Formula 1. The Sauber team’s new owners have yet to immediately change the fortunes of the struggling organization.

After 11 races in the 2017 Formula 1 season, Sauber has scored five points coming entirely from German Pascal Wehrlein. Driving last season for the now-defunct Manor Racing team, Wehrlein missed the first two grand prix events as a result of injuries suffered in pre-season Race of Champions event. Sauber test driver Antonio Giovinazzi served as a replacement for the Australian Grand Prix and Chinese Grand Prix. Giovinazzi finished 12th in his Formula 1 debut but was involved in a massive crash at the Shanghai International Circuit. An accident closely mirroring a qualifying crash the Italian endured a day prior, Giovinazzi escaped both incidents unhurt. Participating with Sauber for a third consecutive season is Swedish pilot Marcus Ericsson. Finishing 11th place twice before the Formula 1 summer break, Ericsson hasn’t scored a Formula 1 championship point since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.

Thoughts of Team for Remainder of 2017:

There remains a chance that the Sauber team will be able to add to their constructors’ point total for 2017 in the remaining races. However, while both Wehrlein and Ericsson will be competing to break into the rear portion of the top-10, the team’s primary devotion may be slated towards 2018. Much of the performance disadvantage with the race cars is connected to the team’s deal with Ferrari for year-old spec engines. Planning for next year, Sauber has already secured an arrangement to receive Ferrari power units built to current specifications.

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