The embattled Sauber F1 Team will not attend the two-day Formula 1 test following the Spanish Grand Prix.
The news is the latest evidence of the Swiss team’s well-known financial struggles. The team has been forced to delay paying its staff wages in both February and March, while team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has so far been unsuccessful in adding to the team’s sponsorship coffers.
It emerged in the lead-up of last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix that the team’s recently-hired head of track engineering, Tim Malyon – who replaced team stalwart Giampaolo Dall’Ara – has left after just three months in the role.
The former Red Bull Racing engineer’s exit comes shortly after another high-profile departure on the eve of the season when technical director Mark Smith exited his role.
The lack of funds has stalled the team’s development program, meaning it will not be bringing any aerodynamic updates to its C35 racer – itself a modified version of last year’s C34 design – to the next Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, an event where it is customary for teams to produce their first major aerodynamic upgrades of the season.
With no new updates to test and lacking “a young/test driver available that fulfills the [FIA’s] requirements”, the outfit has opted to save on the expense and will pack up early.
Under this year’s in-season testing regulations, the field has four test days – two following the Spanish Grand Prix, and two more after July’s British Grand Prix – where two of those must be allocated to young driver training tests.
One silver lining for the Swiss squad is that it will be running Ferrari’s latest-specification power units at the Spanish race, following Ferrari’s use of three development tokens as part of an upgrade introduced to the works team at last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
With the same specification of engine being offered to Sauber and Haas, the former has immediately indicated its plans to use the updated units.
Ferrari’s other customer outfit, Scuderia Toro Rosso, will not receive the updated power units as its contract permits it to only run last year’s specification.
Image via XPB Images