JULY 13, 2013
Negative media coverage hurts Sauber
Peter Sauber has admitted the recent media coverage of his formula one team's financial crisis is "extremely" hurtful.
Amid rumours Nico Hulkenberg terminated his contract because he was not paid, team boss Monisha Kaltenborn admitted recently that the Swiss team is in trouble, but said talks with potential sponsors or investors are taking place.
But then it emerged that dozens of unpaid suppliers have filed formal debt claims against Sauber, amounting to about EUR 1 million, and that the team is lacking the many millions it needs even to complete the 2013 season.
69-year-old Peter Sauber, though, is known as perhaps the most honest and straightforward figure in the F1 paddock, running a typically clockwork-like and always-competent team that managed even to survive BMW's shock exit.
"And now I get in the car in the morning and the first news is how many prosecutions I have against me," he told Blick newspaper.
"Yes, it hurts -- extremely. And how the whole thing is being spread among the public, and in those dimensions -- I don't understand," added Sauber.
He gives an example: "Recently, in eastern Switzerland, hundreds of jobs were lost, but it was just a side-note. But we have not laid off a single employee."
Nevertheless, the seriousness of Sauber's predicament is obvious.
And the Hinwil based team's founder even acknowledges it: "I am using all of my energy to rescue the team, and did not need all of this (media) noise."
Also, deep down, Sauber knows that his team's crisis is important news, not only because of the international scope of formula one, but also because the name 'Sauber' is loved not only in Switzerland, but also by millions of fans.
"The solidarity we feel is enormous," admitted Sauber.
Blick, for example, said a private citizen has offered Sauber an interest-free loan to the tune of $500,000.
"That is touching," said Sauber. "But we need a new, big, strong partner. And we're working on it.
"We will remain the national team of Swiss motor sports -- and in formula one."