Martin Brundle has questioned Sauber’s presence and fundamental purpose in the world of F1 after continued slump in performance over the years.
Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle has expressed his fears about Sauber’s stagnated performance as the Swiss outfit has remained in the same spot in the Constructors’ Championship, predicting a potential ‘onslaught’ if Audi completes its majority ownership of the F1 team.
The team’s poor showing in the 2023 constructors’ championship, in which they only managed to finish in ninth position and just edged out rival Ferrari customer team Haas, was a considerable decline from their impressive sixth-place result in the 2022 campaign.
Although Brundle questions the goals of the squad, Audi will complete its majority takeover in 2026 and have a factory power unit to boot. For several decades, the Hinwil squad’s performance has fluctuated within the boundaries of the second half of the field, year after year.
The team has only won once in its thirty years in Formula 1—in Montreal in 2008 when they partnered with BMW—and there are still two seasons left before the German company acquires a majority ownership in Sauber.
They have 27 podiums to their name, but have mostly operated as a team in the midfield. However, the story of Sauber’s 2023 was one of disappointment, as their car was by far outdeveloped by rival teams as the season progressed.
Former Formula 1 driver Brundle thinks Sauber, who placed second to last in the 2023 Constructors’ standings, needs to change their approach if they want to succeed more in the future.
“They’ve shown some pace from time to time, not so much this season as last year, particularly with Valtteri Bottas,” Brundle explained on Sky Sports F1’s end-of-season review. “I think it’s a solid setup.
“Let’s call it Sauber, I’ve always wondered kind of why they existed, what they were, what they were aiming for, where’s the goal? When [with] other teams, it’s quite clear what they’re trying to do.
“But it’s a serious team based in Switzerland. They’re launching the car in Great Britain in 2024, suggesting there’s an exciting new name coming into it.
“I wouldn’t underestimate them, but they just seem to spin their wheels around the same place in the World Championship, so something needs to change.
“That change could of course well be Audi, who are progressively taking the team over ready for a 2026 onslaught.”
Brundle’s analysis emphasizes that, with or without Audi’s backing, Sauber must show that they are equipped with a well-defined goal and a clear route to long-term success in F1.
The team’s future in the sport will remain unclear in the absence of a clear strategy and a resolute dedication to competitive performance.