Was Monisha Kaltenborn playing favourites?

The former Sauber Team Principal’s exit has been the talk of the town – but is the reason behind her ousting truly favoritism?

Fielding a single Formula One car is difficult enough – ensuring that the driver delivers even more so. So, when teams are expected to give two separate drivers two separate cars and ensure a sense of parity and fair distribution among the two… well, we know from history that that’s not always how things shake down. And now, we’ve got the exit of Sauber’s Monisha Kaltenborn, who some claim may be on her way out due to her favoring Marcus Ericsson over Pascal Wehrlein.

While Pascal Picci, chairman of the board at Sauber, has stated that the reason behind Kaltenborn’s departure was a lack of agreement regarding the future of the team and not due to any accusations of favoritism, there has been a particularly interesting development on the driver’s front since her exit. From the outset, Marcus Ericsson came out echoing Picci’s words, stating that the former team principal never favoured him over Wehrlein:

“It is completely false and untrue. It’s very disrespectful towards every single member of Sauber F1 team.

We have guys here who work day and night, both here and at the factory, to try and get this team successful again, with both cars and both drivers.

For me and Pascal, it’s been very clear that it’s not the case. We’ve both been given equal equipment and priorities. It’s how it’s always been in this team and will always be.”

– Marcus Ericsson

Although Ericsson’s statement is what has been expected of him given the situation, the true point of interest comes from Pascal Wehrlein’s refusal to comment on any of the developments regarding Kaltenborn’s departure. Sure, it’s entirely possible that he simply wants to keep his head down and focus on the upcoming Grand Prix in Azerbaijan, but we can’t discredit the possibility of favouritism in Sauber quite yet.

Well, not that it matters. If it was an issue, then we should theoretically see it resolved by the time Monisha’s replacement is made official in Azerbaijan. Favourtism or no, perhaps a fresh head of leadership in the team will allow them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and push the team into a new era of performance. We’ve seen the young drivers languishing for far too long in the back. It’s time they both made the splash in F1 they’re capable of.

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