It could have been terrible. That really isn’t the most glowing report of how the season went for Sauber, but financial problems which have been rumbling for the past few seasons came to a head in the early part of the year.
Saddled with a car which wasn’t updated and a depleted technical department performance suffered and as a result plummeted to the bottom of the field.
Driver Felipe Nasr was more than critical, even claiming that the car was underivable in the early part of the season.
Teammate Marcus Ericsson even offered to swap cars to understand the problem, before the Brazilian was given another chassis by the team, which solved the lack in performance.
No points in the first part of the year was compounded even more by Manor scoring points in Austria on merit, helped by a strong Mercedes engine. That was however helped by the buyout by Longbow Finance, linked in part to driver Marcus Ericsson, which started to turn things around.
They quickly made appointments in the technical department, hiring an aerodynamicist, strategist and designer, and brought updates to the car which had been waiting from earlier in the season. While it didn’t bring a huge performance boost, it brought them some hope in overtaking Manor in the championship and a large financial boost for the next season.
Thankfully for Sauber that boost came at Felipe Nasr’s home race in Brazil. The difficult weather conditions gave them the ninth place they needed to overtake Manor in the final stages of the season.