Sauber: Driver line-up for 2013 will be decided within this season
9 October, 2012
Oct.9 (Reuters) According to team chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber will announce their 2013 driver line-up before the end of the Formula 1 season but nothing has been decided yet, while their options are open and will not be dictated by Ferrari.
Kamui Kobayashi’s seat is not secure either, despite his fine drive to third place at his home Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Sunday.
Asked when a decision would be made, Kaltenborn told Reuters: “In this season”.
She played down speculation that it could depend on whether Ferrari, the team’s engine suppliers, decided to retain Brazilian Felipe Massa or bring in someone else to replace him.
Massa was previously a Sauber driver and could be in line for a return, although after finishing second on Sunday, his first podium since 2010, many now expect him to stay.
“It has for a change nothing to do with Ferrari,” said Kaltenborn of Sauber’s options. “It’s our own decision.
Kobayashi, Japan’s only current F1 driver, was just the third from his country to stand on a grand prix podium and second in a home race.
Kaltenborn, though, said nothing much had changed despite the performance.
“Had he not had done a good result we also would not have said, ‘Now this is it. Because you could not do it, you’re not going to be here next year,’” she smiled.
“We are in the process of making our decision and we know him very well. We know his strengths very well so we don’t need these kind of things for it.”
Kobayashi’s third-place finish was Sauber’s fourth podium of the season, with Perez providing the others.
Kaltenborn cautioned against reading too much into the drivers’ performances regarding the tally.
“Through that he (Kobayashi) had certain restraints on the tyres, on the strategy and with the other car you could simply take a risk. And the risk worked out and paid off,” said Kaltenborn.
She also hoped Japanese sponsors and leading companies might embrace Formula One more as a result of Kobayashi’s success.
Car manufacturers Honda, the owners of Suzuka circuit, and Toyota as well as tyre maker Bridgestone have all walked away from the sport in recent years and taken partners with them.
“I hope that with this kind of a result there is fresh impetus for companies to come in,” said Kaltenborn. “It’s very important for the race here, for Formula One in this country, because now they have a driver who has shown such a great performance.”