CEO and long term member of Sauber F1 has left following a reported dispute with team owners. Monisha Kaltenborn joined Sauber in the late 90’s as a qualified member of their legal team. In 2001 she earned a management position and In 2010, when the team parted ways with BMW, she was appointed CEO of Sauber Motorsport.
She became part owner of the Swiss outfit when owner, Peter Sauber, transferred one third of the team’s equity to her. Upon Peter Sauber’s retirement in 2012, she took over the role of Team Principal, the first and female to earn the lead role within a team in F1.
Since then she has been a vocal advocate for the redistribution of funds within F1, with Sauber managing to function on a fraction of the budget of the front runners, who receive enormous bonuses for continuing to participate in the sport.
Her time at the helm has not been without it’s controversy, with the team inadvertently employing 3 full time drivers to compete in 2 cars in 2015. This culminated in the termination of a long disputed contract with Van der Garde and a large compensation bill that they could ill-afford.
Kaltenborn managed to secure vital funds for Sauber last year when there was a very real chance they would be forced to withdraw from the championship. She negotiated a deal with investment firm, Longbow Finance, who bought the team and in doing so, secured their position within the sport. Kaltenborn was retained as Team Principal and CEO.
She is also an active member of the initiative Dare To Be Different, which is led by Susie Wolff and aims to encourage young, talented women to aspire to a career in motorsport. She is joined in this initiative by Sauber’s senior strategist, Ruth Buscombe.
Today, it has been announced that Kaltenborn will step away from the team following a reported to be a dispute over driver management. With the owners keen to give preferential treatment to Ericsson and Kaltenborn reluctant to allow this, no agreement could be reached so the partnership has come to an end.
It remains to be seen who will replace her, although reports suggest LMP1 ByKolles team owner, Colin Kolles may be in the running. Ex driver for the team and recipient of the aforementioned compensation, Giedo Van der Garde, has thrown his hat in the ring in a move which would almost certainly curtail his successful past time as a twitter based comedian!
Heading into this weekend’s Azerbaijan GP, the team are sitting 9th in the constructor’s championship thanks to 4 points gained by Pascal Wehrlein in Spain.