OCTOBER 26, 2016
Sauber sabotage claims ridiculous
A wild rumour has emerged about the Sauber team and its Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr.
In Austin, Nasr was forced on more than one occasion to deny speculation that he is on the verge of signing to switch from the Swiss team to Force India for 2017.
Multiple authoritative sources say the 24-year-old, who is lucratively backed by the Banco do Brasil, even received Bernie Ecclestone's support in seeking a more competitive seat.
Blick, a well-connected Swiss daily, quoted the F1 supremo as saying that with Felipe Massa, F1 needs "at least one competitive driver from South America".
But according to rumours emerging from Brazil, Sauber doesn't want to lose Nasr - and his key sponsorship.
Although rescued by investors recently, Sauber almost collapsed financially in 2016, and will use only a year-old Ferrari engine next year.
But team boss Monisha Kaltenborn insists the engine decision has not been driven by financial considerations.
"We know there is a big (regulations) change coming up and with the size we are and the capacities we have, we needed to focus on that change," she said.
As for the Brazilian rumours, one claim is that Sauber is deliberately sabotaging Nasr's campaign, in order to derail his attempt to switch teams and keep the Banco do Brazil dollars.
"For Sauber, sabotage makes no sense -- it's simply ridiculous," said Blick journalist Mick Hammer, reporting from Mexico City ahead of this weekend's race.
"Because they need both drivers for the only remaining goal of 2016: tenth place" in the championship, he added.