Team boss Peter Sauber has farewelled outgoing Technical Director Willy Rampf, and was clearly frustrated that the Malaysian GP was hardly a fitting farewell to the team’s longstanding figure.

Sauber C29 Malaysia

Despite an impressive pre-season testing program in which the Ferrari-powered C29 ran underweight impressed many rival teams, the Saubers have been one of the disappointments of the 2010 season thus far. Aside from the three rookie teams, it is the sole established team that is still yet to achieve a championship points’ earning finish.

On a Grand Prix weekend that Herr Sauber likened to a “debacle”, Pedro de la Rosa’s car suffered a pneumatics failure on the grid formation lap and the Spaniard did not make the race start. Despite team-mate Kamui Kobayashi qualifying his C29 in the top-ten for the first time this season, he retired after just 9 laps with an engine failure.

I feel most sorry for Willy Rampf. For nearly 15 years he was our loyal technical boss, and at his very last race he has to live through such a debacle," Sauber told Swiss newspaper Blick.

"Until the last day he fought for our team, and I know how much these losses affect him, even if he cannot do anything about it," Sauber added.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was Rampf’s last race with the Swiss team, with the German now heading off to retirement. His position will be taken over by the very talented former Technical Director of Force India, James Key, who started working on 1 April.

Key was instrumental in the design of the very successful low-drag Force India VJM02, which took the team to its first-ever pole position and podium finish at last year’s Belgian Grand Prix in the hands of Giancarlo Fisichella.

He will have a steep hill to climb to remedy the problems that Sauber is currently enduring!

[Original image via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.