Formula 1: Sauber confident of gaining sponsors for 2011
Peter Sauber is confident his team will have commercial partners for the 2011 season following an almost sponsor-less return to the sport.
Sauber bought his team back from BMW at the last minute after the German automotive giant withdrew from the sport, but it was too close to the start of the season to attract big-name sponsors amid uncertainty over their ability to compete.
Despite the lack of funding Sauber’s season has gone reasonably well, with former McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa and rookie Kamui Kobayashi coming good.
Kobayashi has finished in the top 10 in four out of the 12 races in his first full season in Formula 1, with both drivers finishing in the top 10 in the last race at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Sauber have recently been linked with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and his TELMEX outfit with a view to a title sponsorship deal for 2011 -a deal which could also see Mexican GP2 driver Sergio Perez or GP2 championship leader Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado graduate to F1 with the Sauber team.
“I believe that we will be at a competitive level,” said Peter Sauber. “There is a good possibility for new partners and we are working very hard on that.
“We’re sure we will have more colour on the car next year. I don’t know what basic colour – it depends on the sponsor.”
Whether it is TELMEX or another company, what is certain is that the Sauber team will move forward and attract new names to the sport.
Sauber is also confident his team can compete with the bigger teams next season, even on their current budget.
“We will get closer to the other teams. We are already close to Williams, sometimes behind, sometimes in front, and it’s the same with Mercedes,” he added.
“That clearly shows that it’s possible with limited budget to go forward. The lap times are on a very good level.”
Sauber are currently eighth in the constructors’ championship with 23 points, 17 behind rivals Williams, and 24 behind Force India. Toro Rosso are 13 points behind, with none of the new teams yet to score a championship point.