“We know there is a big [regulation] change coming up and with the size we have and the capacities we have, we needed to focus on that change,” Kaltenborn explained further on Friday in Austin ahead of the United States Grand Prix.
“We didn’t want to wait for that long, whatever changes might come on the engine side or not. It’s clear that the engine supplier wants to develop as much as he can until the end of the possibilities, and we didn’t want to wait that long.
“We decided to work around what we know. We have sufficient information on that environment around the engine. So we can now focus totally on the chassis side and on performance development.”
Sauber has struggled financially in recent years, but had its long-term future secured over the summer when Longbow Finance completed a takeover of the operation in Switzerland.
While the decision to stick with year-old power units may seem like a money-saving exercise, Kaltenborn stressed that this was not the case.
“This is not at all financially driven. This is technically driven and we think it’s the right way ahead for us,” she said.
Toro Rosso has raced with year-old Ferrari power units throughout 2016, and has lost ground in recent races as other teams using current-spec designs have been able to continue development.
Toro Rosso will return to a Renault supply for 2017, making Sauber currently standing as the only team on the grid that will be using 2016 power units beyond the end of the season.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.