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Sauber will approach Ferrari first over 2014 engines

ESPN Staff
August 7, 2012 « First layer of tarmac 'married' at COTA | Mercedes banking on more competitive car going forward »
Cost will be an important factor in Sauber's decision © Sutton Images

Sauber says it will approach Ferrari first when it comes to nailing down an engine supplier for 2014, but has also highlighted concerns about the cost of the new V6 turbo engines.

Sauber's current contract with Ferrari is set to expire at the end of 2013, but it is looking increasingly likely there will be just three engine suppliers to choose from in 2014.

"There is nothing in place but it is a logical step for us to go and first talk to our current engine partner because we have a lot of history with them together," Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn said. "But all is open because I don't think they themselves know much about certain conditions. So we have to wait."

And she denied that Sauber has been in talks with German car giant Volkswagen about a possible engine supply.

"We were asked about a meeting [with VW] and we confirmed that the meeting took place at the Auto Salon in Geneva , but that is it," Kaltenborn added. "There is nothing more to say to that and we are not in any further talks.

"If we want to increase our competitiveness it is one of our targets to have a strong partner. We have had some experiences with an automotive company and before that we've had strong partners that were not from the automotive sector. What really is the prime point for us is what a strong partner we have and what strategy we have together. If it is them or not is another story and it depends on the terms you can agree or not. But we are definitely not talking to them [VW]."

The development cost of the new 1.6-litre V6 turbos has also raised concerns about the price customer teams will have to pay in 2014. Kaltenborn said that factor would have an influence on Sauber's decision going forward.

"Our position on that, as all customer teams have made clear, is that the financial aspect is very important for us," she said. "We don't want to return to the times when we spent so much more than today, that would be the wrong move. They will make the engines anyway so I think we have to find an equitable solution for customers and suppliers of the engine and what you can do on the pricing and the development costs they have."