If all F1 races were like the one in Baku last Sunday, then arguably the sport would not have lost so many followers lately, tired of the Mercedes dominance and the uneventful racing. In Azerbaijan this all changed. Vettel ran into Hamilton twice (the second time very much on purpose), Ocon pushed his “team mate” Perez into a brick wall, the safety car was out three times and everybody then came in for a red flag as there were so many car parts lying around the track that it had to be cleaned. The final podium was made up of Ricciardo, Bottas and Stroll, and anyone who put a few bucks on that before the race surely walked away a rich man!
Marcus Ericsson didn’t make it into the points this time either, but is arguably getting closer, this time finishing eleventh behind Wehrlein who thus secured a point for Sauber. The main news involving Sauber last week was however not that, but rather that team head Monisha Kaltenborn was unexpectedly sacked a couple of days before the race. As the days have gone by, the reasons have become increasingly clear, and the question on who finances Marcus Ericsson has been answered.
Sauber is since many years in dire financial straits and was once again rescued in the eleventh hour last year, this time by an obscure Swiss financial company called Longbow Finance SA, outside of Geneva. As became clear last week, Longbow is connected to a certain Rausing family, and is part of the Tetra Pak empire. Therefore, when Kaltenborn in late spring sided with German prodigy Pascal Wehrlein as the team’s designated first driver, her days became numbered. Longbow is not necessarily pushing for Ericsson to be designated first driver, but is at least insisting of both drivers being treated equally.
Clearly, the Rausing pockets are theoretically deep enough to get him a better seat than Sauber. Given he has proven his driving skills this season, maybe therefore we have a new Swedish F1 star in the making?