Monday 20 March at 08:35 :
Mar.20 (GMM) Team founder Peter Sauber has admitted the Swiss outfit is set to bring up the rear of the field in 2017.
"There are ten teams," he told the Swiss newspaper Sonntagsblick. "The initial position for Sauber is number ten."
But a worse fate seemed in store for Sauber not too long ago, with the 73-year-old admitting the team he took into F1 back in 1993 almost collapsed completely.
Now, with a rescue buyout complete, semi-retirement has become full retirement for Peter Sauber, who says he is no longer involved and owns "not a screwdriver" at Hinwil.
In fact, he said he will be holidaying in South Africa by the end of this week and may not even watch the 2017 season opener on television.
Sauber admitted he still feels affected by the turmoil of his last years in F1.
"I needed some time to process the separation from my company," he said. "It is not easy and I have had sleepless nights.
"It was a real tightrope walk and a collapse was always possible," revealed Sauber. "For me it was an extremely stressful situation with many unpleasant encounters and telephone calls."
One rumour, for example, is that Sauber fell out with the team's ongoing boss, Monisha Kaltenborn.
"We have very little contact," he admits. "I still have contacts with some employees, but no office and I'm never there.
"They say I am the founder and they will use the Sauber name, which is important for the new owners," said Sauber.
"But overall, we made a clean break. It is better like that. So I have nothing to do with the company anymore."
So for now, Peter Sauber thinks the team that still bears his name will be last in 2017, "But I hope they will succeed in overtaking one or two teams".
"There are no miracles in formula one," he admits. "When I look at the years after BMW, 2012 was the last really good season and after that it became difficult because of the lack of financial resources.
"During the development of the 2017 car, the time between May and September was very important and it was then that the funds were missing," said Sauber.