There are still some “gentlemen” in F1, team boss and owner Peter Sauber insists.
“I think you need gentlemen in formula one for this” Sport Bild reporter Ralf Bach jibed sarcastically during a news conference recently.
But Sauber, arguably one of the few gentlemen in the paddock, told Sonntagsblick that he still has some peers.
Asked if he was privately congratulated after Sergio Perez’s second place in Malaysia recently, the Swiss said: “Martin Whitmarsh, of McLaren, offered me a very nice congratulation.
“Franz Tost (Toro Rosso) wrote me a lovely text. And then Domenicali and the people at Ferrari; we have a very friendly relationship,” added Sauber.
As for whether there are many other gentlemen in F1, he insisted: “In this business, you don’t really ask this question.
“I didn’t know Colin Chapman. Ken Tyrrell was someone who appealed to me greatly, but he didn’t take us (Sauber) seriously. It was the same with Frank Williams.”
Indeed, in the paddock, scepticism and cynicism are more widespread, which explains why Sauber’s 2012 car – although fast throughout winter testing – was not regarded as a serious threat until mere days ago.
“We knew our car was good after the tests in Jerez and Barcelona. But the others just thought that we were running light, which is common when a team from the midfield shows something,” said Sauber.
Also amusing, according to Peter Sauber, is the story of Sergio Perez.
“A year ago it was said he just paid for his cockpit. So it makes me chuckle now when I see them say he is going to Ferrari,” he smiled.