28 March 2016
Kaltenborn: Something fundamentally wrong in F1
After another winter of watching the pennies, Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn again hits out at the way F1 is being run...
Despite insisting that last month's delay in paying wages was a one-off, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn believes the fact that so many teams are struggling financially stems from the way F1 is run.
Kaltenborn maintains that the problems that saw employees receive their February later than expected caught the team by surprise, and does not expect a repeat now that the season is underway, but also revealed that Sauber, along with rivals Force India and Manor, was forced into asking Formula One Management for an advance on money it would usually expect to receive later in the year.
"We don't comment on our finances, and I will continue to keep it like this but, referring to the delay [with wages], it was one delay, which was very regrettable from our side," Kaltenborn insisted, "It was just an unfortunate set of circumstances coming together at the time they came together. This should not happen anymore.
"I don't know what Force India's reasons were, but we all know that the first three to four months are the most cost-intensive, where you really have to have your car ready to hit the road. That's the system we all opted for many years ago when we said that FOM money kicks in later. That's something we all wanted. What happened with us was very unfortunate – the way things came together and the timing particularly, which took us by surprise."
Asked whether Sauber had become accustomed to struggling financially as an independent team, rather than one with factory support like Ferrari or Mercedes, Kaltenborn pointed to the way the sport was currently being run. Despite gaining a team for 2016 in the shape of comparatively well-funded US outfit Haas, others - such as Force India and Manor - continue to be the subject of financial rumour amid accusations that the sport's owners pocket the vast proportion of the income it derives.
"It doesn't really give you any comfort if you know that others are suffering as well," she admitted, "You can't look at yourself and give an excuse and say 'I can't do this and, by the way, five others can't do it as well' because you have to look at your own people. It unfortunately just says what situation the sport is in.
"This has got nothing to do with the product; these are commercial matters. Some of them are the result of the technical regulations at the moment and it's high time something is done about it. If you try to explain to people out there the kind of income the sport generates – and it has, year by year, gone up if you look at the last few years – yet so many teams are having issues, this can't be right. Something is fundamentally wrong in the sport."
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