Peter Sauber says he does not intend to remain in the team principal role for more than another three years, but that he will not step down until he has secured the Sauber squad's long-term future.
Sauber reclaimed ownership of his team from BMW at the start of this season, after the German manufacturer – which had taken over the squad in 2006 – pulled out of Formula 1 and its initial deal to sell the team fell through. At the time, Sauber admitted that he had never expected to return to the F1 front line, but did not want to see the team collapse. He said its future remained his priority although he did not want to stay at the helm too much longer.
"A year ago I said that I didn't want to remain on the pit wall when I turned 70. That's still the case, and I'm now 67," said Sauber. "The critical thing for me is to ensure that we bring even greater stability to the team and that we have a financial basis on which to move forward from a sporting point of view. When that is in place, the time will have come for me to take a step back."
Sauber has secured a major new sponsorship deal with Mexican telecommunications company Telmex for 2011, but insisted that this was not a precursor to a sale.
"I own 100 percent of the team and there are at present no plans to sell the team or any part of it," he said. "Our partnership with Telmex, which will come into force on Jan. 1, 2011, does not include any kind of stake holding and is purely a sponsoring agreement."
Although Sauber ended 2010 in strong form, it had a very tough start to the year, which Sauber admitted had hampered his efforts to find new backers and investment.
"That was tough, no question. The car was not only too slow, it was also unreliable, which is extremely unusual for this team," he said. "And then, as so often happens in sport, we also had a fair amount of bad luck. That wasn't just annoying, it also made negotiations with potential sponsors pretty much a non-starter."
When asked if he had any regrets about stepping in to take control of the team again, Sauber replied: "No, never. And I never will, although I knew that keeping the team alive would be a very difficult task. But if I hadn't taken the plunge, every day I'd have been asking myself why.
"We've cleared one obstacle after another from our path; when I compare the situation a year ago to where we are today, everybody in the team can be proud of what we've achieved."