F1 » 13 April 2010
Sauber admits Hinwilkey to saving team
Peter Sauber says that he could not allow his Hinwil factory to close - even if it means enduring poor results so far this season.
Peter Sauber has admitted to acting on his emotions, but insists that stepping into resurrect his eponymous Formula One team following BMW's exit was the right thing to do.
With three tough races under the squad's belt in 2010, Sauber was asked whether he still felt he had made the correct decision to take control after the proposed sale to Qadbak Investments fell through, and the enquiry gave the genial Swiss reason for reflection.
"When I decided to take over, I had to make the decision in a short period of time, [and] I was led purely by my gut feelings, which is something you should try to avoid," he told the official F1 website, "If it was a purely logical decision, you wouldn't have done it, but, in the end, I didn't have a choice because Hinwil would have been closed down."
Asked how easy it would have been to simply walk away from the team he had started nearly 30 years ago, he again returned to the need to protect the loyal servants at Hinwil.
"For a moment, let's imagine I had looked at the matter unemotionally," he reasoned, "In that case, I would have made the decision not to step in. It was too big a risk - [but] then Hinwil would have been closed down. It's hard to say how long the fact that I hadn't even tried to give the team a future would have made me feel uneasy. The decision to give it a try was the right one.
"When I sold the team to BMW years ago, it was 100 per cent the best solution for me, as I was able to close my F1 career in optimal conditions. I handed over the team to what I assumed were safe hands, and my career was perfect. What happened was a massive interruption to this. I have worked very hard during my life, and I was also blessed with luck - but I always knew that you should not test your luck and I truly hope that I'm not overstretching it now."
Despite having the experience of Pedro de la Rosa and the raw speed of rookie Kamui Kobayashi in the cockpit, Sauber is the only 'established' team yet to score in 2010, leaving it on a par with newcomers Virgin, Lotus and HRT even though its appeared to have a decent package in pre-season testing.
"I do not want to touch on the issue of the drivers as it would be inappropriate," the veteran team owner insisted, "I took this driver line-up decision - and the considerations that led to the decision are still valid. Pedro, on the one hand, has his immense experience from McLaren, and Kamui, on the other hand, is a young driver. What we probably underestimated is the time it would take for the drivers' familiarisation. Pedro, after many years as a test driver, is now back racing and that acclimatisation process is probably more challenging than we anticipated.
"I don't let matters get to me too much, if this is possible. It is better if you don't, because it is never good to look at things from a snap-shot perspective. I think we should at least wait until we get back to Europe to analyse the situation with regards to the team and the technical situation. You always have to be very careful about what you read into tests. Tests and races are two completely different things, especially if you are running with a new driver line-up who, at tests, can go about things in a calm manner without much pressure. Now we are under pressure to succeed and it is very difficult to adapt to this.
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