APRIL 15, 2015
Bianchi signed Sauber contract at Suzuka says Kolles
Jules Bianchi might have raced a Sauber in 2015, it has emerged.
The claim was made by former HRT boss Colin Kolles, as he discussed the Giedo van der Garde saga on Austrian television Servus TV.
Dutchman van der Garde took Sauber to court at the 2015 season opener in Melbourne, claiming the Swiss team did not honour his race contract.
But "There were not just three contracts," Kolles claimed. "There were six."
In addition to van der Garde, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, the other deals were with Adrian Sutil and also Esteban Gutierrez and Bianchi, he said.
Kolles claims the latter deal was signed mere hours before the Frenchman, who remains in a coma six months later, crashed at Suzuka.
"There was a contract signed at noon on Sunday," he said, explaining the deal would "partially offset" some of Sauber's debts.
With Sauber struggling financially, Kolles claims team boss Monisha Kaltenborn was frantically coming up with questionable solutions.
Bianchi had close ties to engine supplier Ferrari, and Gutierrez - his Mexican sponsors in tow - would ultimately become the Maranello team's test driver.
But Kolles said: "I cannot understand Monisha Kaltenborn's behaviour.
"You cannot sell a car, collect money for it, and then six months later sell it again to someone else."
He believes Sauber's selling of multiple race seats for the 2015 season was "absolutely calculated".