Sauber facing Sutil contract row

Published: Thursday 6th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn will have to use all of her legal expertise as she faces a potential contractual row with driver Adrian Sutil.

Over the past few days Sauber have signed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr as their drivers for next season, even though Sutil has a deal for 2015.

Addressing his situation, Sutil said: “There are a few things to think about first. I can’t really say more at the moment.”

Cryptically, Sutil then added: “They’ve confirmed two drivers, but that doesn’t mean the drivers can drive and it doesn’t mean the team’s going to drive.

“So there’s no real change from last weekend to this weekend. It’s just an announcement.

“Now, of course, my situation, I think I have to do some talking, to sort out things.”

You would expect Kaltenborn, however, to know what she is doing as she has a master’s degree in international business law from the London School of Economics prior to working for numerous law firms.

Kaltenborn’s first position with Sauber was as head of corporate and legal affairs before becoming team principal.

Standing firmly behind her decision to hire Ericsson and Nasr, Kaltenborn said: “We’ve announced our drivers.

“I am very clearly aware of my situation and I know what I’m doing. It is a clear situation.

“If there are any other points related to it, these are internal matters we will discuss internally.”

Suggested to Kaltenborn Sutil could pursue a legal case through the Contract Recognitions Board, Kaltenborn reiterated: “The situation is clear.”

With Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez now on the way out, Kaltenborn has intimated the team were forced to act due to issues surrounding young Russian Sergey Sirotkin.

With Russian backers behind him, Sirotkin was being groomed to enter F1 next season, but Kaltenborn concedes the plug has been pulled.

“This has a lot to do with his situation, but I don’t expect that to go on next year,” added Kaltenborn.

It would appear without the money from Sirotkin’s backers a big hole was left in the finances of a team struggling financially.

It is understood Ericsson and Nasr bring to the table a combined sum of around £15million from their personal sponsors, with the latter funded by Banco do Brasil.

“You have to look at the overall situation in Formula One, which is very challenging,” said Kaltenborn.

“When private teams make decisions they have to take financial aspects into consideration, otherwise it gets very difficult to survive.

“That’s the situation, but it’s now different for us. This is a step in the right direction.”

Published: Thursday 6th November 2014 by The News Editor

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