The Sauber F1 team has confirmed Jorg Zander will join as its technical director in 2017 once his time as head of Audi's World Endurance Championship LMP1 effort concludes.
Zander operated as chief designer for the BMW Sauber squad in 2006 and 2007 and will finish his current role as technical director for Audi with the German manufacturer withdrawing its WEC commitments at the end of this year.
The German 52-year-old began working in F1 with Toyota in 1997, before moving on to BAR-Honda as chief engineer between 2002 and 2005 until switching to Williams as chief designer between 2005 and 2006.
Zander has also worked as deputy technical director at Honda and Brawn GP under Ross Brawn between 2008 to 2010 until he was appointed as an engineering consultant at Audi Sport.
Zander took the helm at Audi as technical director in 2015 before its decision to withdraw its full WEC commitments and is now relishing his opportunity to return to F1 ahead of the 2017 technical regulation revamp.
“I am delighted to return to the Sauber F1 Team in my adopted home country of Switzerland,” Zander said. “After many years at the top level in endurance motorsport, I am very pleased to become Technical Director and to undertake the challenge with Monisha Kaltenborn, the team, all the outstanding engineers and mechanics in the new era of Formula 1.
“The new Formula 1 regulations offer a great opportunity to point the way with innovations and technical creativity. One of my tasks will be to define a stable and efficient technical organisation that evolves the potential of creativity and, therefore, the basis for the development of successful Formula 1 cars. Initially we obviously want to improve and establish ourselves as a team in the mid-field. Overall it is a challenge which I await with excitement and enthusiasm.”
READ: Hamilton third time lucky to keep title dreams alive
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has welcomed Zander back to the team fold with open arms and sees it as the latest key figure to join since the Swiss squad's takeover by Longbow Finance in July.
“We are very pleased about the appointment of Jörg Zander as our new Technical Director at the Sauber F1 Team,” Kaltenborn said. “We are honoured that we have convinced such a renowned and experienced technical leader to be part of our team and plans for the future. This is a very important step for the implementation of our strategic goals, in order to guide the team into a new and successful era.
“Zander fits well into our team, he has a lot of know-how in Formula 1, as well as in motorsport in general. As technical director he will have the overview as well as the responsibility for all technical departments.
“In our factory in Hinwil he will have the possibilities to work technically at a very high level. We are convinced we will make progress with him. We wish Jörg Zander a good start on his return to Sauber, for which we ensure him our full support.”
FEATURE: Boy Racers! Top 10 youngest drivers in F1
Sauber is enduring a frustrating F1 campaign having failed to score a single championship point with two rounds remaining in 2016.
If Sauber can score at least one point across the final two races, and assuming Manor fails to also score points, the Swiss team can leapfrog them in the F1 constructors' championship and with it secure a multi-million pound boost in prize money.
In 2017, Sauber has confirmed it will use year-old Ferrari power units to cut costs next year and is yet to announce its driver line-up.
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst