‘Title sponsor deal a huge step for Sauber’

Having a title sponsor such as Alfa Romeo on board has led to a rather busy winter for the Sauber team, says team boss Frederic Vasseur.

Although Sauber were set to swap to Honda engines for 2018, Vassuer's arrival as the new team principal saw that deal cancelled within hours.

Instead he strengthened ties with Ferrari, resulting in a new title sponsor in Alfa Romeo and a deal that will see Sauber race new Ferrari engines in 2018.

The deal, though, hasn't come without a few headaches.

"It's not extra work on the technical side because we were already flat-out," Vasseur told RACER. 

"The situation is that we changed from Honda to the Ferrari engine and the Alfa Romeo deal quite late because it was the end of July, so for sure we delayed the design a little bit, but it was on purpose. 

"On the technical side for sure we are a little bit late and for the company and the marketing and communications team it was also tricky.

"To have a title sponsor for the team is a good move, but also a huge step and we have to reinforce every single department and recruit a lot and so on. But for sure it was an exciting time as well as a tricky one.

"It's much better to have this problem than to have to deal with the guys in the factory having nothing to do!"

And while the return to Ferrari engines did result in a "small delay" in the design of the 2018 car, Vassuer believes it will be worth it in the long run.

"For sure when we decided to come back to the Ferrari engine the design of the car with the Honda engine was already started. 

"That meant a small delay when we had to redesign the back of the car to change the approach a little bit, but that's life.

"It's not a big deal, it's more of a rush for the team but now we have a long-term deal and it's not a problem if for a couple of weeks at the beginning it is an issue, we have to be focused on the next years and not on the last weeks."

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