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Sauber parts company with CEO, team principal Monisha Kaltenborn

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Sauber Formula 1 CEO Monisha Kaltenborn has parted company with the team with immediate effect ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Kaltenborn has worked with Sauber since 1998 and was appointed the CEO of its motorsport interests in 2010, before becoming F1’s first female team principal two years later.

Kaltenborn played an instrumental role in keeping Sauber afloat amid years of financial uncertainty, with its long-term future being secured following a takeover by Longbow Finance last summer.

The new investors kept Kaltenborn on in her role as CEO and team principal, with Sauber going on a significant recruitment drive in the closing stages of last year. Sauber also recently announced a new engine tie-up with Honda from 2018.

However, news of Kaltenborn’s departure from Sauber emerged on Wednesday morning, just days before the next grand prix in Azerbaijan.

The team is yet to issue an official statement regarding Kaltenborn’s exit, but an announcement is expected later on Wednesday.

According to a report from Autosport‘s Dieter Rencken, Kaltenborn could be replaced as team boss at Sauber by Colin Kolles, who has previously been involved with the Caterham, HRT and Force India projects in the past among others.

Kolles’ most active involvement in motorsport currently is his ByKolles LMP1 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship, but this is set to withdraw from the remainder of the season after the July 16 round at the Nürburgring.

Sauber currently sits ninth in the F1 constructors’ championship with four points from the opening seven races of the season, all scored by Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”