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Sauber hands over the keys to new team principal Monisha Kaltenborn
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Oct 2012   |  8:07 am GMT  |  102 comments

Monisha Kaltenborn has become F1’s first woman team principal today, as Sauber F1 Team founder Peter Sauber formally handed over the running of the team to the 41 year old Austrian/Indian lawyer.

This move has been coming for some time, Sauber having transferred a third of the shares in the team to her back in May as a prelude to stepping down. Sauber is about to turn 69 and has long planned his succession.

One of F1’s best run teams, Sauber has enviable facilities and this year has produced a tremendous car, which has scored four podiums.

It is up to Kaltenborn to take it on from here and one of her first key decisions will be what to do on the driver front, with Sergio Perez leaving for McLaren and Kamui Kobayashi’s position under review, despite his podium in Japan.

Kaltenborn has made a positive impression with team principals and with the media since she became the CEO and began raising her profile in the paddock, attending team principals meetings and trying to find a way through the intractable problems of 2013 rules and cost control.

Sauber said, “We decided a long time ago that Monisha would take over from me. But we left the timing open. Now is a good time for both of us, so this is the right moment to pass on the baton. After all, there have been a number of races I’ve been unable to attend – most recently the Japanese Grand Prix, where the team put in an excellent performance. I’m in no doubt that Monisha has all the necessary skills to be an outstanding Team Principal, and I’m equally certain she will ensure that the values underpinning the company live on. That is very important to me.”

This is one of the last batons to be handed over to the next generation, only Sir Frank Williams remains of the old guard, but he has Toto Wolff waiting in the sidelines.

Kaltenborn is ambitious and plans to kick things on from where the team has got to, “Naturally I’m very aware of the major responsibility I have for Peter Sauber’s racing team,” Kaltenborn said. “He founded the team over 40 years ago, and in the spring it will be 20 years since Sauber lined up for its debut Formula One grand prix. We are the fourth-oldest team in Formula One. To build up a project like this and keep it alive in a difficult environment is a tremendous achievement. I have set my sights high and am committed to taking the team forward as Peter Sauber would want and leading it on to success.”

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I think it’s great she has been appointed. When was the last time they had a lawyer as team principal?


Dear Ms Kaltenborn. Best wishes on your appointment. Please keep Kobayashi. The fans love him. You need him. Please find a way!

DanWilliams from Aust

Her first task is to keep KOB!!!


Day 0: Monisha Kaltenborn has become team principal

Day 1: Kamui Kobayashi needs to bring sponsorship

Very very bad start, Monisha


I don’t think you can expect anything else from Monisha. She is very bright and educated, that tends to cool things off when it comes to question of money. I’d imagine Frank Williams have a word for that kind of thing 🙂

Tornillo Amarillo

I love Monisha, she has such an explicit body language than we can clearly understand what is going on, for example when she talked about Kobayashi hopes for 2013.


strange that it has taken so long for a woman to get the top job in F1. I think she has been doing a great job so far…well good luck for the future!


I too thought she was running things already.

and can someone explain why Koby ‘s drive is under threat – he’s performance as been solid, Perez as done well but its not like he’s totally destroying Kobayashi – whats up with that?


Sauber has always impressed me, but their performance over the last few years has been outstanding.

Monisha Kaltenborn has played no small part in that effort, and it’s great to see her being recognised as such. She deserves it.


Would love to see Sauber win a race this year, they’re a great team and Peter Sauber seems like nice guy amongst the piranha club.

Be equally nice to see them pick up some big sponsors!


To be honest I didn’t really appreciate Sauber’s history in the sport. Stories like this really help put into perspective what someone like Peter Sauber is like, has achieved and represented well.

Nothing to do with Monisha’s gender, but I would put good money on Sauber being the team that puts the first full time female F1 driver on the grid. They seem to have the team DNA that is open to new ideas and willing to go a slightly different way.

I’ll be very happy when they score their first win – hopefully next year, or at least by 2014.


Since the Group C days of the 80s, I’ve admired Peter Sauber. Sauber have been a team I’ve watched with interest, seeming to evoke the proper spirit of F1 rather than a large corporate brand (granted, the BMW days). Hopefully this keeps the team in steady hands into the future………


I’ve been following Sauber for quite some time now and Monisha seems to be very competent in this role. I do hope she does really well. Good luck Monisha!


She’s very obviously an incredibly sharp cookie. I have to say that I have massive respect for Peter Sauber. Despite keeping a low profile, his charm, character, personal integrity and passion for racing is very clear to see. Seeing his response to Perez’s result in Malaysia was one of the season’s more emotional moments for me, and I hope the results this year have rewarded him for the huge personal and financial risk he took bringing the team back from the brink when BMW left. I hope Monisha takes Sauber to the next level and Peter can enjoy watching his cars win a GP while relaxing at home with a good cigar on the side.


Hey James Allen, im mexican and I was thinking last week “would Slim buy a Sauber in the coming years?” now i woke up and saw Peter Sauber handing over the team to Monisha, Slim keeping the sponsorship with Sauber, what are the odds for this to happen? i mean, Slim Domit likes to spend money on their teams… (btw, sorry about my lame english)

Adrian Newey Jnr

Better to be a sponsor. That way you can easily shift your brand to another team if the original one fails to deliver, or if you want to move a sponsored driver etc. I think RB recognised that a few years back when they tried to sell TR and concentrate on placing drivers.


How many ppl can plan for and gracefully execute their own succession??

They need to clone Peter Sauber!


Can we expect Peter Sauber to hang around the paddock for a little while, even after his retirement? He seems to have a good presence with in the paddock, few (if any) seem to have any bad words to hold against him.


Fourth oldest team? Presumably behind Ferrari, Williams and McLaren?

I’m sure Jordan/Midland/Spyker/Force India and Minardi/Torro Rosso would disagree!

And before anyone says it’s just not about the DNA of the team, but about the name too, then Tyrrell/BAR/Honda/Mercedes and Toleman/Benetton/Renault/Lotus have both!


Yes but in one form or another it’s always been Sauber, even when majority owned by BMW (Peter Sauber still owned part of it if memory recalls) rendering their continuation valid.

If Jordan were still Jordan, then yes fair point, but they are not.


I think it’s more relevant if the staff at the team are largely the same rather than whether a single figurehead owns a portion of the team, as per Red Bull who still have a large number of people surviving from the Stewart days.

When Frank finally sells up will Williams still be Williams? Of course it will 🙂

6 Wheeled Tyrrell

It’s sad to see Peter Sauber gone from the grid, he is the embodiment of fair play and hard work, however MK seems like a great succesor to mr Sauber.

It is great to see a woman in that position for the first time. She comes across as very capable, I wish her and the team the best, they deserve it!


Immensely chuft for her, she stands out whenever she is interviewed and comes across really professionally and with humour as well. A great player of poker as well I suspect given all the pressure questions about Kamui.

Good luck from a big fan


Very cool. I’m really enjoying the success of this team and hope they continue with many more podiums.


Congrats to Monisha- what I do like is that she keeps referring to it as Peter Saubers team and remains humbled by her successes to date . What will is irreplaceable in Peter Sauber is his instinct to find talent- a fantastic vision that will surely be missed. Peters and Kimis birthday in the same week as mine -glad to share with these guys.


Do we know if Peter Sauber is planning to keep his two thirds of the shares in the company, or whether he is planning to transfer these as well, to Monisha again or to someone else?


Knowing him, he will be looking to ensure that they go into the hands of someone or some company that will ensure the long term future of the team

He thought he had done that with BMW..

Adrian Newey Jnr

James – give the immense value of an F1 licence, not to mention the share of revenues for teams that consistently do well per Schedule 10, any reason why Peter would gift a large share of his team to someone else?


You can’t take it with you!

To keep her there is my guess. She will be tied in to a certain period to earn out in the shares


Perhaps McLaren should have brought (along with |Perez) Monisha to the team and retired Martin Whitmarsh from his job.

As a lawyer she is doing a better job as a Manager at Sauber; than Whitmarsh is at McLaren, who is an Engineer from a polytechnic.


Good on her. She comes across very impressively and holds her own in such a male dominated sport. I just wish some of the TV pundits that are unnecessarily touchy-feely with her would give it a rest. She seems to handle it well, but it makes my skin crawl every time.


if frank william wants the best for his team he should retire. no one person should manage a team for that length of time. its far too long and the proof is in the pudding that it is never a success story. a team needs to be renewed periodically. new team principal, new staff etc etc. we wouldn’t expect to see the same drivers in a team for any more than a handful of years, so it should be with team principals. No success????? then move on to pastures new, rather than stringing out years of failure. its boring for us who have to watch and it never really gives much hope for drivers coming in to the team. williams or saauber??? mclaren or sauber??? force india or sauber??? and so on and so forth.

Adrian Newey Jnr

James reported some changes at the top of the Williams management team some time ago. Combined with these practical changes, the floatation puts the team into a new structure allowing the team to move forward from the days when it was a Williams/Head organisation. I think Frank has done the right thing over the past few years to get the team back to a good position before “retiring”. After all, when the FOM CEO is in his 80s, why would Frank leave?


James, What happened to Carmen Ziegler after leaving Sauber. I believe she was the first female F! Team Manager when Sauber entered the championship almost 20 years ago?


Good question!

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