FEBRUARY 6, 2005

The sale of Sauber

There are stories circulating at the moment that Peter Sauber might sell his team. No-one seems to have noticed the fact that Peter Sauber actually does not own the team, which he sold to partners in 1994. The original deal with Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz in 1994 was for 51% with Peter Sauber owning 24.5% and Fritz Kaiser owning 24.5%. When Kaiser left the team his shares were split between the two other partners, leaving Sauber with 36.75% of the business and Mateschitz with 63.25%.

The pair later fell out over drivers and as a result Mateschitz sold the shares back to Sauber. Peter then sold them on to Credit Suisse and the plan at the time was to pass some of these on to other investors. There has been no word since as to whether that actually happened and it is assumed that Credit Suisse still owns the 63.25% that once belonged to Mateschitz. Sauber retains the voting shares in the team and, according to our sources, has no plan to sell the team. Peter is 61 and may be planning for a longterm shift of ownership but he is extraordinarily fit for a man his age and has just invested large sums of money to construct a $55m windtunnel and install a hugely-powerful new computer cluster at Hinwil. His current interest is to find an engine supplier to replace Ferrari and there are absolutely no signs that he is looking to stop racing. Even if he did he would insist that the team stayed in Hinwil - something which makes very little sense for most potential F1 buyers who do not consider Hinwil to be home.

In other words Sauber is either not selling or he is unlikely to find a buyer.