Sauber boss Alessandro Alunni Bravi has vowed that the team will continue to scale up the workforce ahead of Audi taking over the team in 2026.
The team has more than doubled its workforce in the past six years and with the German motoring giant setting ambitious goals for its entry into the sport, the team is continuing the process of expansion ahead of the takeover.
Embarking on the plans well ahead of time means that the team can afford to wait for the right talent, even if employees are tied to former teams by current contractual obligations such as gardening leave.
"We have undertaken an important recruitment plan," Alunni Bravi said. "Of course, the result of the plan will be more visible in the next few years, because with every new appointment normally you have a gardening leave period to join a competitor.
"So we started with the recruitment. Of course, we will ramp up our structure, both in terms of head counts, in terms of technology, in the next few years because all the investment that needs to be made and put in place requires also a bit of time.
"We started our journey in 2017 when I joined the team with Fred Vasseur. We were around 220 people, and we have reached more than 500 people this year, and we will take a step in terms of headcount also next year.
"But it's a process that takes time, and each year there is a plan to expand our departments, our facilities, and of course, our staff."
What say is Audi having in the expansion plans?
Speaking to Autosport, Alunni Bravi also revealed that Audi remains aware of developments ahead of the forthcoming takeover and that all parties are clear that the expansion is needed and a progressive step.
"I will say that there is a normal dynamic between the two shareholders, where all the investment plan for the future until 2030 at least is in discussion.
"And we are just working according to the governance in place. Of course, the governance will change according to the different steps in terms of acquisition that Audi will take. This is normal, as in any company where you have two shareholders.
"We are the first ones to know that there is a step, a big step, that is needed in each single area. But we know that all the steps that we are doing, all the investment that we are doing, will lead us to a stronger position in terms of the package that we will be able to design, in terms of how we operate, in terms of processes."
Why will Sauber be able to spend more on facilities?
As one of the midfield teams, Sauber will benefit from increased capital expenditure limits which will allow the team to spend more than the frontrunners on improving facilities.
Alunni Bravi added: "Don't forget that we are working within a regulatory framework where there is a fixed perimeter in terms of cost cap, for the capex. We cannot do like it was in the past when a car manufacturer came and joined F1 and made massive investment in one or two years. We need to act according to the rules.
"And these extra allowances for capex that have been approved in the F1 Commission and by the FIA will allow us to accelerate that investment plan.
"But as always this is a technology sport. So we need time. We need to take the right decisions. And this is why [Sauber CEO] Andreas [Seidl] is fully focused, of course, on the transformation process as our leader of the team to allocate the budget when it’s necessary, when it’s more performance-related."
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