Ferrari, McLaren and Williams don’t need to be introduced to anyone, but few think who’s fourth after them. Well, the answer is still a member of the field, the Swiss team currently operating under the name Alfa Romeo Orlen, Sauber, will start at its 500th Formula One Grand Prix this weekend.
After nearly half of their 1032 race weekends so far, the Hinwili squad – after young Michael Schumacher also competed with them before their F1 debut – the team led by Peter Sauber made their debut at the 1993 season opener, the South African Grand Prix in Kyalami.
Although they have always played the role of the “underdog”, the unlucky but persistent team that is capable of surprises, they have a very serious F1 pedigree.
Mercedes returned to F1 as a motor carrier for Sauber after decades of absence, with Red Bull and Petronas sponsoring them to enter the racing circus, operating as a BMW factory from 2006-2009, and since 2018 by another carmaker, Alfa Romeo gave them his name.
The list of drivers employed by Sauber is nothing: for the past 27 years, Hinwiliek cars such as Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Johnny Herbert, Jean Alesi, Nick Heidfeld, who introduced themselves to them and then returned to the last years of their careers, Kimi Räikkönen, Felipe Massa, Giancarlo Fisichella, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, the team’s only winner, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, who made their debut at the 2007 American Grand Prix, and Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, to name a few.
As we alluded to above, only one race victory came together, but then it was twofold: at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, Kubica and Heidlfeld brought perfect results for BMW Sauber. In addition to the success of the Kubicas, they achieved 25 additional podium finishes, in the design competition they achieved the best result with the 4th place in 2001, and in 2008 the Hinwili team became the 2nd in BMW colors.
An exclusive club is ready to admit a new member: at the #TurkishGP, Sauber will become only the fourth team to hit 5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ races!
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) November 11, 2020