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Kaltenborn in charge

October 11, 2012

Photo courtesy Sauber F1 Team

That sound you just heard was shattering of a glass ceiling at 8g by Monisha Kaltenborn, 41, who has just taken charge at Sauber F1 Team, of which she is one-third owner, thanks to her mentor and team founder Peter Sauber.

Fully recognizing preparation is imperative when it’s time to step away, Sauber spent 12 years grooming this capable woman to assume control in every aspect of the team he nurtured from birth. As he turns 69 on 13 October (and yes, I write it that way), Peter Sauber steps aside and has his Sauber Motorsports AG CEO Kaltenborn at the helm.

The Austrian (of Indian ancestry) started in Sauber’s legal department and became a member of its Board of Management shortly thereafter. She assumed CEO duties at the start of 2010 and received her third of the company from Sauber late last year.

Most important in this transition is Kaltenborn’s respect for Peter Sauber. “Naturally I’m very aware of the major responsibility I have for Peter Sauber’s racing team. He founded the team over 40 years ago, and in the spring it will be 20 years since Sauber lined up for its debut Formula One grand prix,” she said.

Photo courtesy Sauber F1 Team

“We are the fourth-oldest team in Formula One. To build up a project like this and keep it alive in a difficult environment is a tremendous achievement,” and certainly a result that occurred due to Kaltenborn’s input. “I have set my sights high and am committed to taking the team forward as Peter Sauber would want and leading it on to success.”

As F1 heads into the Korean Grand Prix this weekend, the Sauber F1 Team, which races with Ferrari engines lies sixth in the constructors’ championship with 116 points to Red Bull Racing-Renault’s 324. Sauber are 20 points in arrears of Mercedes.

Long known for grooming successful drivers, Sauber’s current duo of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi lie 10th and 11th in the drivers’ standings, respectively. Perez, of course is leaving the team at the close of the season to become Jenson Button’s teammate at McLaren-Mercedes; Kobayashi still basks in the glow of his podium last weekend at home at Suzuka, Japan.

The responsibility transfer by Sauber to Kaltenborn is an excellent one from every standpoint. And while it smashes a glass curtain, it does so in a way that can be appreciated – even by the astute members of the Formula One fraternity.

By Anne Proffit

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