NOVEMBER 2, 1998
Changes at Sauber
Sauber is also understood to be involved in serious talks with Toyota about a possible buyout of the team for the year 2001 although we understand that the Japanese car maker is still debating what form its F1 program should take - as it could enter as an engine supplier or with a complete team. With the number of teams now limited to 12 by the new Concorde Agreement the only way for Toyota to have its own team would be to buy an existing operation and as the company is probably planning to establish the team at Team Toyota Europe headquarters in Cologne the logical thing to do would be to buy the cheapest team - Minardi.
Sauber's package of chassis and engine technology is an attractive one and if a decision is taken to buy Sauber we would expect the project to be led by Team Toyota Europe's technical director Andre de Cortanze, who was technical director of the Swiss team when it entered F1 and was responsible for the design of the impressive Sauber factory in Hinwil before he moved on to Ligier. It is probably significant that in recent days De Cortanze has hired Sauber's aerodynamicist Rene Hilorst for TTE.
With the Sauber Petronas F1 engine program clearly being run down in the years ahead, the company has recently lost American engineer Michael Wilson, who has taken up the offer of employment with BMW in Munich.