Mar.7 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Sauber is entering yet another F1 season under a financial cloud.
A year ago, it was the Giedo van der Garde saga that almost derailed the struggling Swiss team.
Now, the Swiss newspaper Blick reports that Sauber has fallen behind in its wage payments to its more than 300 staff at the Hinwil factory.
“Yes, it is true,” boss and co-owner Monisha Kaltenboth confirmed.
“Part of the February salaries are still due, which I really regret,” she explained.
Kaltenborn continued: “Right now is the most cost-intensive period (of the season). And there have been technical problems with the transfer of a big sponsorship amount from abroad.”
She told her unpaid staff: “We will get the current problems under control and out of this unfortunate situation soon.
“We will keep fighting, just as we have in the past years,” added Kaltenborn.
But 2016 could turn out to be harder than ever for Sauber, as while the team is using Ferrari’s 2016 power unit, it is the new Haas outfit that is more closely aligned to the fabled Maranello marque.
Alain Prost’s own Ferrari-powered customer team collapsed some 15 years ago, and he told Speed Week he definitely would not try again in today’s era.
“It is important that you have a strong partner, a manufacturer, behind you,” said the F1 legend and Renault ambassador.
“The rules need to be changed so that the small teams have more of a chance. With the current situation it is not possible,” Prost said.
Haas, however, is receiving widespread praise for cleverly entering F1 with so close an alignment to Ferrari.
“They have pursued an entirely different concept than we did,” said Prost, referring to his eponymous team. “There’s a lot of support from Ferrari.
“It is practically the B-team of the Scuderia, which is a much more comfortable situation for them,” he added.