After a season without a single point, Sauber is in a battle with Marussia for ninth place in the constructors’ championship and has had financial difficulties of its own throughout the year. Kaltenborn has advocated cost cutting measures for some time to help the plight of smaller teams and says she is disappointed no action was taken before the teams hit serious trouble.
“I’m beyond the stage of frustration, I’m very disappointed,” Kaltenborn said. “It’s one thing to always talk about this terrible scenario that some teams are not going to be there, but that the sport – and the people responsible for the sport – have let it come that far is very disturbing. I think some stake holders and people are not willing to understand where the problem lies.”
Kaltenborn says F1’s stakeholders have had misplaced priorities this year and avoided the real issues.
“We have been focusing in the last few months on social media, the show and all kinds of things. What we really need to look at – and we as a team have been saying for so long – is that you have to get the [financial] figures right in this sport. I think it’s a really shame that we have turnovers of billions of dollars and as a sport and a community we are not capable of making sure that 11 teams survive. As a team and team owners there are a couple of us here that really have a tough life to make ends meet here. The worst part here is that we are damaging the sport so much here, I think that the owners of the product should think what they are doing here.”
Earlier this year the teams could not agree on a budget cap plans, despite the FIA pushing the initiative forward. Kaltenborn said it is up to the paddock to unite and do what is best to ensure a healthy field arrives at each race.
“I think as teams we should first find this collective which is not there at the moment. That made us strong in the past. We all have at least one common denominator which is to survive in this sport and make the sport something healthy, because we all will attract our sponsors. There should be a certain amount that guarantees each and every team to at least live decently. No one is saying you have to have the most luxurious standards, but you should be allowed to participate in the sport. All of us have put so much investment into our teams of coming to this level and then that should be respected by ensuring you get a certain basic amount that is the same for everyone. There are brands here so established, such as Ferrari, that they will always get more sponsorship than a team like Sauber will get. But that way at least you create an environment where a small team doesn’t really have to suffer that much. I think it’s pretty outdated to say ‘if you don’t have the money then don’t be in the sport’ because even small teams are putting in a lot of money into the sport.”