F1 2015 team preview: Sauber F1 Team (VIDEO)


Sauber F1 Team

No. 9 Marcus Ericsson
No. 12 Felipe Nasr

First Race: 1993 South African Grand Prix
Grands Prix: 384
Pole Positions: 
Fastest Laps: 
Race Wins: 
Best Constructors’ Championship Finish: 
2nd (2007 as BMW Sauber)
2014 Championship Result: 
10th (0 points)

Sauber’s heyday in partnership with BMW seems so long ago now. After stumbling through 2013 amid financial uncertainty, 2014 went down as the worst season in the Swiss team’s history. The C33 car gave Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez little chance of scoring points, but when opportunities did present themselves – such as in Monaco and Hungary – mistakes were made. It was nothing short of a disastrous year on track, and a troublesome one off it too.

2015 looks to hold better things in terms of pace, with the C34 turning heads during pre-season testing. With the rest of the field taking a step forwards, points may still be hard to come by, but a race of attrition could give drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson a chance to squeeze into the top ten.

That said, one of the two may not even be racing this weekend in Australia. Giedo van der Garde worked as the team’s test driver last year, and had a contract that said he would race for the team 2015. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Victoria said that Sauber must race him this weekend, with the team set to appeal on Thursday. Hopefully this won’t be a sign of things to come for Sauber. F1 needs the small teams.


Ericsson is one of the few people to have emerged from the mess at Caterham in 2014 better off than he was when he started with the team. The Swede put in a number of quietly impressive displays in the troublesome CT05, proving to be more than a match for teammate Kamui Kobayashi and tying with what will forever be the team’s best ever result by finishing 11th at Monaco. It will be interesting to see just what he can do with Sauber this year, as there is still plenty more to come from the ex-GP2 racer.


The Brazilian almost peaked too early in testing, with soft tire glory runs at Jerez earning him and the Sauber team a number of positive headlines. Nasr’s preseason testing accident with former Williams testing teammate Susie Wolff in Barcelona was an inglorious moment to say the least. Still, Nasr is a capable enough driver to have earned his promotion to F1. Beating teammate Marcus Ericsson on a semi-regular basis and getting into the minor placings must be the goal in his maiden season.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.