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Sauber concerned by engine price hike

7 August 2012

Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn has admitted that the Swiss team is concerned by the possibility of serious price rises when F1's new engine era is ushered in ahead of the 2014 season.

According to Motorsport-Total.com, Sauber has not yet decided which manufacturer to partner with when the new V6-based regulations replace the current V8 formula, although Kaltenborn admits that current partner Ferrari is likely to remain first choice - provided that costs can be contained at a manageable level. The likelihood of rising prices accompanying the introduction of the new rules is understood to be high, although a natural 'glide path' is thought to have been built into the regulations, ensuring that the cost of competing becomes more manageable as time goes by.

With just three manufacturers looking likely to be involved in the top flight in two seasons' time - following rumours that Cosworth is on the verge of pulling out and potential newcomer PURE has hit financial problems - Kaltenborn confirmed Sauber's concern that costs will escalate as the companies struggle to service the entire F1 field, but admits that the situation remains clouded as all sides attempt to finalise their plans.

"It is obvious that we will go first to our current engine partner, because we have a long shared history," Kaltenborn confirmed, aware of Ferrari's willing partnership once Sauber emerged from its troubled spell acting as the 'works' BMW team, "But it's all open, because I think [Ferrari] themselves do not know much more than us about certain conditions."

The same website has recently linked Sauber to a possible Volkswagen involvement in F1, with the Swiss team apparently the German brand's second choice should a bid to run with McLaren founder on the clash between the groups' rival road-going sportscars. Although well-informed sources are quoted as stating that the chance of an agreement being struck between VW and Sauber are currently no greater than 30 per cent, talks are said to have taken place between team boss Peter Sauber and VW CEO Martin Winterkorn earlier this year, having been brokered by former Mercedes chief – and long-time friend of Sauber – Jurgen Hubbert.

That's all there is [to the rumours], there's no more to say about it," Kaltenborn insisted. "We are not in further talks. We have [always] made it clear that the financial aspect is very important for us," Kaltenborn continued, "We do not want to go back to the days when you had to pay so much more money for engines."


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