Sauber asks for cost control, simpler F1 rules in “not-so-serious” letter to Santa

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Sauber has continued its call for change in Formula 1 by posting what it has dubbed a ‘not-so-serious’ letter to Santa on its website.

After facing great financial uncertainty over the past couple of years, Sauber has been one of the teams leading the push for a more even distribution of prize money in F1 and a greater say in the future of the series.

So just as millions of children all over the world will have sent their letters to Santa asking for presents, Sauber did the same on Christmas Eve – albeit with a few requests that the big man is unlikely to have received from many others.

In the letter, Sauber asks for a budget cap, a fairer share of prize money, an overhaul of the rules to make them simpler to understand, and a greater onus placed on fan views in the sport.

Here’s the letter in full.

Dear Santa

Merry Christmas! You and the elves must be very busy at this time fulfilling millions of wishes, and we hope someone is also taking care of yours.

We are not entirely sure whether you have TV or Internet access at the North Pole, but anyway you might know about Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsport… or, at least, that’s what it’s been for decades.

Nowadays, money is the dominant force that drives performance and, therefore, success for a team. We believe it should rather be creativity, talent and dedication by the employees, rather than money.

Your elves create the nicest gifts based on their creativity and talent, right? Do you budget for toys? How do you distribute this between the elves? Do you favour some elves over others?

We, at the Sauber F1 team, stand for a fair distribution of revenues by Formula One Management (FOM), which in turn improves the baseline for many teams.

For our Christmas wishes to come true, we do not need the hard work
of your elves… we need your supernatural powers! If you have some time, we would be extremely happy if you could have a look at our wish list:

1. Budget cap and fair distribution of FOM money: this will ensure that many F1 teams are more competitive, which will bring more excitement into the sport. That is what the Formula One fans want.

2. Simplified rules: currently the rules are too complex and difficult to understand (not so much for us, but for the fans).

3. Listening more to the wishes of the fans: This is important for our fans; they are important to us and, in the end, Formula One is worth nothing without them.

Sincerely,
Sauber F1 Team

PS. If any of the other F1 teams wish for the opposite, shred their letters!

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.