Sport : F1


27th February 2014, 08:41am

Despite a modest 2013, the popular Sauber outfit continue to corroborate their reputation for punching far above their weight in F1.

Although they are yet to score a maiden victory under their own name, Peter Sauber's battle-hardened Swiss team have always possessed a reputation for producing well-engineered, reliable cars.

In 2012 they showed they could build very competitive ones too, with the veteran team owner describing the C31 as "the best car we have had since entering F1" - a boast duly endorsed by four podium finishes.

2013 proved less bountiful, with the team's best result being fourth place at the Korean GP in October, but their steady improvement throughout the year after a deeply underwhelming and financially-stricken start spoke volumes about the depth of their engineering resource and fighting spirit.

As an independent entity, which it was originally from 1993-2005 and again since 2010, podium finishes, let alone the prospect of challenging for race victories, were considered a distant dream.

But running at the front isn't an experience Sauber are completely unfamiliar with, having won the won the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix with Robert Kubica and finished second in the 2007 Constructors' Championship when bankrolled by German car giants BMW.

Yet the team remain, in the eyes of the public and paddock at least, very much an independent outfit, to be applauded for their ongoing capacity to stand toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in motorsport.

Seventh place in the 2013 Constructors' Championship represented another respectable effort, although the year was tempered by incessant monetary concerns which ultimately persuaded Nico Hulkenberg to return to Force India after just one year at Hinwil.

Stability, however, has been ensured with the retention of Esteban Gutierrez for a second season. The young Mexican will partner Adrian Sutil in 2014, with Monisha Kaltenborn - F1's first female Team Principal - now in day-to-day control.

Expect a few more blooded noses in 2014 as Sauber continue to prove that you don't necessarily have to be a big name in F1 to make your mark.

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