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Monisha Kaltenborn's work disappoints me!

Monisha Kaltenborn's work disappoints me!

( – Former Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez has criticized the working methods of his former team boss at Sauber, Monisha Kaltenborn, holding her partly responsible for the poor performance the race team has shown for almost a decade.

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn and Esteban Gutierrez

Gutierrez made his Formula 1 debut with Sauber alongside Nico Hulkenberg in 2013, but was only able to score points in one race. However, the team retained him, but in 2014 there was not a single point for him or his teammate Adrian Sutil.

Things did not go well for the racing team in the following years either: only in 2022 did they manage to go beyond eighth place in the overall standings. The Swiss experienced their greatest period of weakness between 2014 and 2017, when the team finished tenth three times in four years.

The team leader at that time was Austrian Monisha Kaltenborn, a qualified lawyer who took over from team founder Peter Sauber. But for Gutierrez, Kaltenborn's methods were not the right way because she could not lead the team at a good level.

“There was a huge disconnect between what Monisha was doing and what the team needed.” He says to Gutierrez – Good knowledge of the financial problems the team was experiencing at that time.

Gutierrez also recognized this: “I have a business background and I love dealing with how the organization works. It was frustrating for me to see some aspects that were missing in the team's work.”

But of course he was working as a team driver at the time and tried to focus on that. “But when you're out there and you're focusing on your work and you realize that things aren't right in the area of ​​operations, that obviously got me a little frustrated.”

So many decades for so few places

And even though Gutierrez only finished in the top 10 once in his two years with the team, they wanted to keep the Mexican and his sponsorship money for 2015. The only problem: They clearly wanted to get a lot of other drivers, too.

Adrian Sutil claimed that he has a contract for this season, and the same applies to Guido van der Garde, who announced his retirement a few days ago. The Dutchman appeared with the team in Australia at the start of the season and tried to break into the cockpit – and succeeded.

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Van der Garde was right, but after reaching an agreement with the team, he gave up his place – Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr eventually drove the car. And Esteban Gutierrez? He also received an offer from Kaltenborn.

In Austin 2014, the team's president called Gutierrez to a meeting and said she wanted to continue working with him.

Gutierrez didn't want to be the fifth…

“I looked at her and said, 'Monisha, how can you offer me a place for next year? When you already have four riders under contract?'” Gutierrez said. “She looks at me: ‘Esteban, that’s not true.’ And I say: ‘I know that. “This conversation will go nowhere because I know what's going on.”

He saw that Sauber was heading in a direction that “wouldn't look good”, he says. “And when I saw that with Guido, I knew it made sense.”

Monisha Kaltenborn was replaced as team principal at Sauber by Frederic Vasseur in the summer of 2017.