Peter Sauber has hit out at BMW, Willy Rampf and Ferrari for the 'really bad car' the struggling Swiss outfit has been lumbered with in F1 2010 and the 'unacceptable' reliability that has resulted in just two finishes apiece for Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi from the opening eight grands prix of the campaign.
Sauber's abject performance to-date this season, indeed – with just a single point leaving the team above only the three newcomers in the constructors' standings – has led to fears about the Hinwil-based concern's long-term future, with suggestions already beginning to circulate that the eponymously-named operation could be bought out by a new entrant next year.
When former owners BMW elected to sell the team last summer, development on the 2010-spec C29 slowed down – with the upshot being that when Sauber re-purchased the squad that he had founded back in 1993 late last year, the car was far from a competitive proposition. The departure of long-time technical director Willy Rampf in April of this year scarcely aided the cause, with the German being replaced by Force India's James Key.
All-in-all, Sauber contends, too much upheaval and ill-preparation has resulted in the situation that prevails today – a situation that the 66-year-old urges cannot be allowed to continue.
“Let's get to the point,” he told Swiss newspaper Blick
. “The C29 is a really bad car, and we can only adjust it so much. It was an unpleasant parting gift from BMW and Willy Rampf – and five Ferrari engine failures in eight races is unacceptable. We have a rule of eight engines per driver for the season, but at this rate we'll certainly need more, resulting in ten-place grid drop penalties. We need better reliability. All our hopes rest now with the C30 for next year.”
There have also been the perhaps inevitable learning mistakes from rookie Kobayashi, whose stellar reputation launched off the back of a superb debut in the top flight at the end of the 2009 campaign with Toyota has taken something of a battering in 2010. Sauber, however, insists he can forgive such youthful exuberance.
“Kamui immediately came to my office and apologised,” he revealed of the Japanese ace's lap two crash into the infamous 'Wall of Champions' in last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix around Montreal's popular Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. “Okay, that is the price you pay if you start with a rookie.”