The History of Sauber F1 is a long one with many ups, and even more downs. Sauber Formula One (F1) team is a Swiss racing team that has competed in the F1 World Championship since 1993. The team was founded by Peter Sauber, a Swiss motorsport engineer, who began his motorsport career in the 1970s by building sports cars.
In the early 1980s, Sauber began to focus on building racing cars for the World Sportscar Championship. He built several successful cars and even won the championship in 1989. However, with the decline of the sportscar championship, Sauber decided to turn his attention to F1.
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In 1993, Sauber made its debut in the F1 World Championship with drivers Karl Wendlinger and JJ Lehto. The team’s first season was not particularly successful, with the best finish being a seventh place in the Italian Grand Prix. However, Sauber quickly established itself as a solid midfield team and by 1995, the team had its first podium finish with Heinz-Harald Frentzen finishing third in the Belgian Grand Prix.
In 1996, Sauber signed a partnership with the major car manufacturer, Ferrari. This partnership brought significant technical and financial support to the team, and over the next few years, Sauber established itself as one of the top teams on the grid. The team’s best season was in 2001, when driver Nick Heidfeld finished third in the drivers’ championship and the team finished second in the constructors’ championship.
Sauber had a difficult period in the mid-2000s and was sold to BMW in 2005. BMW rebranded the team as BMW Sauber and the team had a successful period, with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finishing second and third in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix. However, BMW withdrew from F1 at the end of the 2009 season and the team was sold back to Peter Sauber.
Since then, the team has struggled to match the success it had in the 2000s. However, it has had some notable moments, such as a surprise victory for Sergio Perez in the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix. In 2016, the team was sold to a group of investors and was renamed Alfa Romeo Racing. The team has a technical partnership with Ferrari, and it’s been a reliable midfield team.
Sauber F1 team has a long history of over 25 years in Formula One, starting as a small independent team and becoming one of the top teams on the grid, with the help of a partnership with Ferrari. Even though it’s had a difficult period in the mid-2000s, the team has come back and established itself as a reliable midfield team, with a bright future ahead.
Now that the team has been purchase (75% of it’s shares) by Audi, it’ll be interesting to see if this decades old team can finally, get to the front.