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.”