Sauber – a brief history

15 Sep

Sauber have been one of the biggest surprises of the season, 3 podiums to their name and fighting for 5th in the championship, with a budget that is insignificant went placed next to the big 5. Here’s a brief history:


  • Peter Sauber founds Sauber F1 team.
  • Sauber ran with Ilmor engines.
  • They pick up 12 points and finish 7th in the constructors championship.
  • Karl Wendlinger picks up 7 points and finishes 12th.
  • Whilst JJ Lehto picks up 5 to finish 13th.


  • The team receives backing from Mercedes, and used their engines.
  • The team pick up another 12 points to finish 8th.
  • Karl Wendlinger stayed on for the first 4 races, before he picked up an injury, picking up 4 points to finish 19th.
  • Heinz-Harald Frentzen got his F1 debut season and picked up 7 points to finish 13th.
  • Andrea de Cesaris joined the team for 9 races, as a replacement for Wendlinger he retired from 8 but picked up a point for the team to take his season tally to 4 (he picked up 3 for Jordan) and finished 19th. This was de Cesaris last season in F1.
  • JJ Lehto drove for the team in 2 races, (after replacing de Cesaris) he picked up 0 points but finished 24th after picking up a point at Benetton.


  • Sauber become sponsored by Red Bull.
  • Started using Ford engines.
  • 18 points sees the team finish 7th in the constructors standings.
  • Wendlinger drove for the first 4 races  before being dropped and being recalled up for the final 2 races, Karl picked up 0 points. Wendlinger retired from the sport at the end of 1995.
  • Heinz-Harald Frentzen stayed with Sauber, he picked up 15 points, including Sauber’s first podium in Italy. Heinz finished 9th overall.
  • Rookie Jean-Christophe Boullion replaced Wendlinger and picked up 3 points to finish 16th before being dropped in favour of Wendlinger.  Boullion never drove in F1 again.


  • Sauber picked up 11 points to finish 7th.
  • Frentzen drove for the team for a third year, picking up 7 points to finish 12th, before leaving the team at the end of the year.
  • Johnny Herbert joined the team and picked up 4 points, all for a podium finish in Monaco. Herbert finished 14th.


  • The team built it’s own engine under the name Petronas, although every part was made by Ferrari. This deal carries on until the start of the 2006 season.
  • Sauber finished with 16 points and 7th place (at least they’re consistent).
  • Herbert stayed with the team and picked up 15 points including a podium in Hungary to finish 10th.
  • Nicola Larini drove for the first 6 races before being dropped because he didn’t get on with the Sauber management. He picked up 1 point to finish 19th. Larini retired after 1997.
  • Gianni Morbidelli replaced Larini but missed a few races due to injuries in testing. He picked up 0 points and retired from F1 at the end of the year.
  • Norberto Fontana replace Morbidelli for the 4 races he missed, he picked up 0 points in the only 4 F1 races of his career.


  • Sauber get 10 points to finish 6th in the constructors championship.
  • Johnny Herbert gets 1 point to finish 15th. Herbert left Sauber at the end of the year to join Stewart.
  • Jean Alesi moves from Benetton, he gets 9 points, including a podium in Belgium to finish 11th.


  • Sauber only managed 5 points but still finished 8th.
  • Jean Alesi managed to get 2 points to finish 16th. Alesi left to Prost at the end of the year.
  • Pedro Diniz was signed from Arrows, he picked up 3 points and finished 14th.


  • Sauber pick up 6 points to finish 8th.
  • Diniz didn’t pick up any points and decided to retire at the end of the season.
  • Mika Salo joined the team after spending the previous year covering for injured drivers at BAR and Ferrari. Salo picked up 6 points and finished 11th. Salo then left to help Toyota prepare for the 2002 season.


  • With an all new line up Sauber got 21 points and finished 4th, their best ever season as Sauber.
  • Red Bull stopped sponsoring the team after a fall out over the signing of Kimi Raikkonen
  • Nick Heidfeld was signed from Prost, Heidfeld picked up 12, including a podium in Brazil points and finished 8th.
  • Future WDC Kimi Raikkonen joined the team having never raced in F1 before, he picked up 9 points to finish 10th. At the end of the season Raikkonen moved to McLaren.


  • Sauber picked up 11 points and finished 5th.
  • Heidfeld picked up 7 points and finished 10th.
  • Felipe Massa moved into the team with no experience, he picked up 4 points and finished 13th. At the end of the year Massa became the Ferrari test driver.
  • Heinz-Harald Frentzen rejoined the team to replace Massa for one race after Massa was injured. Frentzen didn’t pick up any points for Sauber but finished 18th after picking up 2 points for Arrows.


  • At the start of 2003 the points system changed from 10-6-4-3-2-1 to 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1
  • Sauber picked 19 points and finished 6th.
  • Heidfeld drove for the team for a third time, picking up 6 points and finishing 14th. Heidfeld joined Jordan at the end of the year.
  • Frentzen drove a 5th and final season for Sauber before retiring from the sport. He picked up 13 points and finished 11th, finishing 3rd in the US GP.


  • Despite picking up a bumper crop of 34 points Sauber couldn’t improve on their previous 6th place finishing 6th.
  • Experienced driver Giancarlo Fisichella joined the team for just one season, Fisichella got 22 points and finished 11th.
  • Felipe Massa returned his year as Ferrari test driver, Felipe got 12 points and finished 12th.


  • Despite a strong line up Sauber could only pick up 20 points and finished 8th.
  • 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve joined Sauber but only got 9 points and finished 14th.
  • Felipe Massa managed to pick up 11 points and finished 13th. At the end of the year Massa joined Ferrari, the team he still drives for today (2012).


  • The team received investment from BMW and for the next 4 seasons the team would run with BMW engines.
  • BMW Sauber picked up 36 points finishing 5th.
  • Heidfeld returned, his 23 points meant he finished 9th.
  • Jacques Villeneuve stayed with the team picking up 7 points finishing 15th. After Villeneuve had to miss the Hungarian GP due to injury he fell out with the management and retired from F1.
  •  Rookie, Robert Kubica replaced Villeneuve, Kubica got 6 points and finished 16th.


  • BMW Sauber had a phenomenal season, the 101 points they picked up led the team to 2nd place, BMW Sauber’s best finish.
  • Heidfeld got 61 points finishing 5th. Nick’s best result was a 3rd place in Hungary.
  • Robert Kubica stayed for a 2nd season picking up 39 points finishing 6th.
  • Future WDC Sebastian Vettel replaced Kubica for one race due to Kubica suffering an injury. In his very first race he finished 8th which contributed to his points haul of 6 points finishing 14th, (the rest of his points came at Toro Rosso).


  • Despite only finishing 3rd I for one regard 2008 as Sauber’s greatest year, their 135 points included the only race victory of the team’s history.
  • Robert Kubica had a fantastic year, winning the Canadian GP and finishing on the podium a further 6 times. Kubica picked up 75 points and finished 4th in the championship.
  • Nick Heidfeld’s 6th season with Sauber/BMW Sauber Heidfeld finished on the podium 4 times and picked up 60 points finishing 6th in the championship.


  • After two fantastic seasons BMW Sauber had a bad season, only picking up 36 points and only finishing 6th.
  • Kubica only got 1 podium, picking up 17 points and finishing 14th, at the end of the season Kubica left BMW Sauber and joined Renault.
  • Nick Heidfeld picked up 19 points and finished 13th.


  • At the end of 2009 BMW pulled out of F1 leaving Peter Sauber in complete control of the team.
  • Monisha Kaltenborn was named as CEO of the team, the first female CEO of an F1 team.
  • Sauber switched to Ferrari engines for the 2010 season, a deal that still exists.
  • At the start of the 2010 season the points system was changed from 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 to 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4–2-1.
  • With the change of management the the driver line up was completely changed.
  • McLaren reserve driver Pedro De La Rosa came into the team, but after only picking up 6 points (finishing 17th) he was replaced for the final few races by the returning Nick Heidfeld who 6 points (finishing 18th). At the end of the year De La Rosa rejoined McLaren as the reserve driver whilst Heidfeld joined Renault.
  • After a promising display in the final two races of the 2009 season Kamui Kobayashi joined Sauber for 2010, picking up 32 points and finishing 12th in the championship.


  • Sauber picked up 44 points for the second season in a row but improved their championship position finishing 7th.
  • Kobayashi stayed on with the team picking up 30 points and finishing 12th.
  • Sergio Perez joined the team from GP2, Perez picked up 14 points finishing 16th in a promising rookie season.
  • Pedro De La Rosa replaced Perez for the Canadian GP due to Perez being ill. De La Rosa didn’t pick up any points before returning to his role as McLaren test driver.


  • Early on in 2012 1/3 of the Sauber team was transferred to Monisha Kaltenborn making her a part owner.

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