When Sauber and Jordan quit Formula 1 the reason was simple. Independent teams could not compete with the budgets of other teams. Sauber became BMW and whilst they retained the name with BMW Sauber the team was run by the German car manufacturer. They took a back seat, changed their colours and became almost unrecognisable as the team who gave Jacque Villenueve his final soiree.
The shift in financial responsibility with new regulations however has heralded the return of such teams to the race track.
Sauber may now also have the opportunity to return due to the sad demise of Toyota, the last Japanese outfit. Sauber have been given a lifeline to return. This lifeline was given to them by the FIA, who allowed them to be put on a waiting list. They took the position of the ‘fourteenth’ team who would be allowed permission to stake a claim to a 2010 drive if one of the instated thirteen teams dropped out.
Now that has happened with the money leaking Toyota team Peter Sauber and his army of workers have a challenge of making the 2010 grid. The departure of BMW from their garage means that they are free to return to their former identity.
Their new owners Qadbak Investments Ltd (who also own English football club Notts County) look to give Sauber a more influential role in the running of the team.
With the backing of an investment company willing to thrust money into the car and additionally with Ferrari looking to be the likely suppliers of engines, if they were to compete Sauber would become a credible addition to the other twenty-four cars that will take to the Bahraini Grand Prix next year.
The team may not have an illustrious history of victories, they have six third place finishes to their name, no pole positions and no race victories, but they would be a welcome fixture in an F1 paddock as well as a team capable of producing promising pace and a competitive edge.
Dont forget additionally that Sauber is of course the team where the likes of Nick Heidfeld, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa emerged, and so a team who can make considered and reliable driver choices.
Now it just remains to be seen as to when or if the team takes the bait, and when or if one of the lost independents will be returned to us in all their purple glory.