Monisha Kaltenborn insists that she is pleased with the way in which the Sauber team is rebounding from its nightmare 2014 F1 season, even if she admits it won't suddenly be appearing at the front of the field.
The Swiss team went scoreless through last season, leaving it sandwiched between Marussia and Caterham in the final constructors' standings and ended the campaign surrounded by stories of financial woe and suggestions that it was on the brink of collapse. Having survived, and boosted by having a more potent Ferrari engine behind it, Sauber is now staging something of a recovery, with rookie Felipe Nasr and second year driver Marcus Ericsson contenders for points at most rounds, despite the team not being able to throw bucketloads of money at the development of the C34.
Team principal Kaltenborn, however, says she wouldn't have it any other way, with the future of the team her main concern.
“It's getting better step-by-step but, as I said last year, these things take time because you want to do it in a way where you can sustain your level,” she explained, “I'm not sure that it is really right to say that it is 'frustrating' because I feel that, if you are a business, you need to run in a prudent way. You are not there to waste money, particularly when you think you don't have enough to do all that maybe you want to do - you simply become wise about what you spend it on and whether it is worthwhile.
“I don't think one has to follow the policy of 'just because you can do it, you do it', irrespective of what you gain. If you are in the situation that probably smaller teams more or less all are, you just think about the ratio of what you invest and what you gain out of it.”
With a firm hand on the purse strings therefore, Kaltenborn is a natural opponent of plans to 'spice up' the sport through means such the return of refuelling. Her frustration, if anything, comes from the intransigent nature of bigger rivals and those holding power over F1, who appear willing to risk the smaller teams in order to further their own aims or swell their own coffers.
“I don't see the rationale behind bringing refuelling back,” she maintained, “We decided to get rid of it at a time when there were many teams and manufacturers around who could have afforded to live with those costs.
“I do see movement [on financial arrangements], but probably in the wrong direction. If the way ahead is customer cars or franchise cars, then I have my views on that which you already know, but all of these ideas coming up, to me, are going in the wrong direction.
“You have to look at the redistribution of income – and there is a lot of income in this sport, so we can't complain about not having enough – and then you have to look at the rules. If the people doing the rules have their own very vested interests, you have to cater to all their interests to come to some agreement and that is where it becomes so complicated.”