Peter Sauber has vented his anger at Williams' decision to veto the allocation of a 14th slot on the F1 2010 starting grid – meaning the soon-to-be former BMW concern looks set to lose out to one of the new entrants that he contends might 'have run out of money by 2011'.
BMW's summer announcement that it is to withdraw from top flight competition come season's end left Sauber desperately seeking a buyer for its Hinwil operation – and an investor was subsequently found in the form of the mysterious Qadbak consortium.
The problem was, the place that would ordinarily have been taken by the team had in the meantime been re-assigned by governing body the FIA to Malaysian-backed newcomer Lotus F1 – meaning with the 13 desired slots all filled by the nine remaining present incumbents and new entrants Lotus, Manor, Campos and USF1, for Sauber there was no room at the inn.
The only remaining ray of light for the Swiss concern is therefore the possibility that another team will pull out before 2010 – after the hope that the FIA might open up the field to allow a 14th team to take part was quashed by Williams' right of veto.
That has upset Sauber – who entered F1 with his eponymously-named squad back in 1993, and took a back seat after handing over the reins of control to BMW 13 years later – as no drivers or sponsors can be engaged without knowing whether the team will even be allowed to compete next year.
What's more, the 66-year-old has expressed his frustration that whilst the established Sauber operation has all the resources at its disposal to produce a competitive car in 2010, some of the newcomers may not last the course – if they even make the starting grid for the Sakhir curtain-raiser at all...
“They do not have to prove anything and yet they disturb our plans for next season,” Sauber told Swiss newspaper Blick
when asked about Williams' opposition, whilst scathingly referring to the situation regarding the new teams as 'a joke'. “Perhaps the four [newcomers] will have cars in Bahrain, but will have run out of money by 2011.”
Sauber retained both a consultancy role and a 20 per cent interest in the team throughout the BMW era, whilst the fate of current BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen beyond the end of the present campaign remains unclear.