Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn has left the Formula 1 team with immediate effect after five years in the job before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Kaltenborn was head of Sauber’s legal department from 2000 and became the Swiss outfit’s CEO in 2010 as former chief Peter Sauber stepped back; the first female boss in F1 also owned a third of Sauber until 2016.
Swiss financier Longbow Finance acquired Sauber last year as the team faced financial difficulty, and Kaltenborn gave up her shares. It is believed that the private investor was a catalyst for Kaltenborn’s departure yesterday.
The constructor is rumoured to have lined-up former HRT and Force India boss Colin Kolles to fill the vacant role. The Romanian dentist turned adviser worked with Caterham’s F1 owners in 2014, before it went into administration.
At the time, F1 Management chief Bernie Ecclestone referred to Kolles as a “competent guy”, praising his ability to “get in there and clean things up a lot, stop [Caterham] wasting money and…get it on track.”
In 2013, Kolles was revealed to have recorded a Toto Wolff conversation about Mercedes’ management having also attempted to blackmail the leading F1 outfit’s Executive Director.
Ecclestone stepped in to settle the dispute between the two while Mercedes obtained a court order to stop the release of the conversation.
Sauber recently made a deal with Honda to use its engines from 2018 – it currently uses Ferrari’s 2016-spec units.
The team sits ninth in the constructors’ championship through Pascal Wehrlein’s four points, which he earned in Spain before the race at Baku.
Sauber F1 has released a statement addressing Kaltenborn’s departure:
“Longbow Finance SA regrets to announce that, by mutual consent and due to diverging views of the future of the company, Monisha Kaltenborn will leave her positions with the Sauber Group effective immediately. We thank her for many years of strong leadership, great passion for the Sauber F1 Team and wish her the very best for the future. Her successor will be announced shortly; in the meantime we wish the team the best of luck in Azerbaijan.”
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