Being one of the only teams left on the grid who are yet to announce their driver line up for the 2017 season, Sauber Formula One team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, is eager to finalise who will be driving for the team “as soon as possible”.
The issue has come about for the team due to their current driver, Felipe Nasr, losing his main sponsor, Banco de Brasil, shortly before the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This has jeopardised the future of the young Brazilian driver at the team, as they rely heavily upon the sponsorship that he brings in, even despite his drive at Interlagos that saw the team earn two points and move into tenth place in the Constructors Championship.
When asked by F1i, Kaltenborn admitted that the loss of the sponsor did put his position in the team in danger.
“His major sponsor took a position which the publicly announced and we obviously accept that,” she commented. “It plays into the assessment of course, which we are making still. We still have not come to a decision but we want to resolve it as soon as possible.”
“However, it takes more than our side to get that done, so we’re on it and I still hope that we can quite quickly resolve it.”
There have been rumours circulating as to who would replace Nasr at Sauber, with Manor Racing MRT’s Pascal Wehrlein being thrown into contention – but with his name also being popular to replace outgoing World Champion Nico Rosberg at the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, it doesn’t seem as certain any more. Whoever ends up in the seat will be partnering Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson.