Inconsistency can be an enigma when it comes to racing in Formula 1; the variables involved in a race seem to multiply as the technology used continues to progress. Therefore teams can struggle to compete with these innovative changes in a fundamentally elitist sport.
Sauber surprised many in 2012; their four podiums eclipsed numbers achieved by teams with more funding and experienced drivers at the helm.
Largely independent, Sauber is considered to be the most socially progressive team in Formula 1’s history – Monisha Kaltenborn is the first female to hold the prestigious Team Principal title.
With Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, the buzz surrounding the team was justified. Combined with the story of Peter Sauber’s continued success against all the odds, the fairy take story had begun.
Sauber had a good start, double points finishes with a beautiful Australian backdrop had all of us excited for the up coming year. Right we were, 2012 saw Sauber gain their highest placed finish as an independent team. Malaysia will hold a soft spot in the team’s hearts.
Perez’s podium was incredible, not least because he was surrounded by six World Champions all driving more expensive cars. Even Kamui Kobayashi’s tenth place finish in China was an achievement given the circumstances.
Three further podiums followed: this time Canada, Italy and Japan had the honour. I’m not ashamed to admit that I found myself emotional as Kamui Kobayashi stood upon the podium in front of an adoring home crowd.
Perez’s ability to come back from a disappointing Spa (courtesy of Romain Grosjean) and a mediocre qualifying session to finish third is remarkable. Even all of you against his move to McLaren will agree with this I’m sure!
They had a great year, one of their best in history. Only Robert Kubica’s Grand Prix win in the then BMW Sauber proved better. As an independent team, they are always on the back foot; Force India and Toro Rosso did not get podiums.
As a team known for their youthful line up and risky strategies, Sauber’s success story is thought provoking. Are they still Ferrari’s sister team? Or can they stand tall on their own? With Esteban Guitterez and Nico Hulkenberg it is possible that regular podiums are on the cards once again. And with Robin Frijns testing the car, talent from numerous racing levels are being explored.
Let’s now spare a thought for Kamui Kobayashi. He parts from Formula 1 despite a successful. Six points ahead of him in the Championship, his former team mate Perez now drives for McLaren. What a difference a year makes! Ruthless indeed.
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