Formula One team Sauber F1 and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn have parted ways with immediate effect. Kaltenborn has left her role as team principal and CEO at Sauber by mutual consent and over “diverging views”, a statement read from the team. The Indian-born Australian had been with the Hinwil based team since 2000 as the head of legal, and was promoted to the position of CEO in 2010. In October 2012, she became the first and only female team principal in F1 as well as a shareholder.
A brief statement from Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG read, “Longbow Finance SA regrets to announce that, by mutual consent and due to diverging views of the future of the company, Monisha Kaltenborn will leave her positions with the Sauber Group effective immediately.”
“We thank her for many years of strong leadership, great passion for the Sauber F1 Team and wish her the very best for the future. Her successor will be announced shortly; in the meantime we wish the team the best of luck in Azerbaijan.”
Monisha Kaltenborn took the position of team principal from founder Peter Sauber in 2012 after his retirement, and continued in the role when the team was acquired in full by Longbow Finance S.A. in July last year. Under the Kaltenborn stewardship, Sauber finished seventh in the constructors’ standings in 2013, its best in the past years, having not done any better than eighth. The team finished tenth last year with just two points.
While neither parties have opened about the actual reason to part ways, it believed that the Sauber’s new owner’s desire to favour Marcus Ericsson over Pascal Wehrlein was not particularly appreciated by Kaltenborn, and is one of the issues that led to her departure from the team.
However, Pascal Picci has refuted the speculations that suggest Sauber’s drivers do not receive equal treatment. Picci said, “This is not only patently untrue, it would be contrary to the team’s absolute and longstanding commitment to fair competition. These reports, attributed to anonymous ‘sources’, are highly detrimental to both Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein as well as to the management and all staff of the Sauber F1 Team.”
The Sauber F1 team have been part of the championship since 1993, changing several partners in the process, more notably BMW. The team was bought by the Swiss finance group last July, which helped secure the struggling team’s future in the sport.
At present, Sauber is ninth in the constructors’ standings with four points, ahead of McLaren which is struggling with reliability issues of its poor Honda engines. In fact, Sauber announced earlier this year that it will be switching to Honda engines next season switching from Ferrari customer engines.