Constructors Championship: 10th
Pole positions: 0
Points finishes: 0
Last year, for the first time in their 22 year Formula One history, Sauber had a point-less season. From 38 race starts they retired from 13 with the rest of their finishes outside the points. Adrian Sutil came closest to scoring points, finishing 11th on two occasions. His best starting position of ninth in the US Grand Prix did not yield any results after he got caught up in an incident with Sergio Perez. Esteban Gutierrez’s best result was 12th at the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
For 2015 Sauber has an all new driver line-up in the form of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr – well at least for now. Just two days ahead of the start of the new season the team has been taken to court by former test driver Giedo van der Garde. His testing contract included a clause which meant he would be a race driver in 2015 but the team failed to honour this. The case was held in the Supreme Court of Victoria and it ruled that van der Garde should race this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix. Sauber has appealed the decision with their case set to be heard tomorrow, just one day ahead of free practice. Both Ericsson and Nasr brought significant backing to the team – in particular Banco do Brasil whose colours make up the team’s new colour scheme.
Nasr makes the step up to Formula One from GP2. He finished third in 2014 while acting as test and reserve driver for Williams. He has also enjoyed success in British Formula 3 and Formula BMW. Ericsson is another GP2 graduate although he made the step last year when he raced for Caterham. He also took part in the 2009 Young Driver Test for champions Brawn GP.
Sauber are a team who are in a dire financial situation and if the court throws out their appeal it could prove disastrous for their survival. Their defence is that putting van der Garde in the car would prove dangerous, however, he has raced in Formula One in the past and was the team’s test driver in 2014. He is also a proven race winner in other series – including GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 – so does not lack the skill it takes to drive an F1 car.
The team can not afford – literally – another point-less season. At the first test in Jerez, Nasr topped the times on day three. They completed the second highest amount of laps of any team over the course of all three tests, just behind Mercedes’ final tally. Their car has proven to be reliable and at the second Barcelona test – where cars run the closest to their race specification – the team’s fastest time was a solid midfield. In the mid to late 00s the team enjoyed their biggest successes, finishing second in the championship in 2007 and third in 2008. This was in their BMW days and they made the switch to Ferrari engines in 2008. They have not quite reached their highest heights again but in the past few years have been consistent point scorers including the odd podium. They will no doubt be hoping to return to those ways in 2015, regardless of who is driving the car.