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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 14:23 GMT
Sauber

Sauber have been through another typical season - which means that for most of the time you would barely know they were there.

The bad news for the Swiss team, though, was that they also went backwards in dramatic style after two strong seasons when they were comfortably "best of the rest".

Only an impressive third place by Heinz-Harald Frentzen in the wet at Indianapolis kept the team in the battle for fifth place in the constructors' championship - a position they held with some ease in 2001-2.

TEAM HISTORY
Nationality: Swiss
Years in F1: 10
2003 position: 6th
Drivers' titles: 0
Constructors' titles: 0
Team principal: Peter Sauber
And it seemed only just that in the final analysis the position went to BAR, who can justifiably argue that they had the best car outside the big four.

Sauber have not been helped by the massive performance gains made over the winter by Michelin - the Swiss outfit use the rival Bridgestone tyres.

But by the same token it is clear that the 2003 Sauber is no dream machine.

Sauber face a constant struggle for funds, and only in 2001 did they give any signs of moving forward, and - as team boss Peter Sauber admitted - that was due more than anything to an improved driver line-up over .

Sauber do a very good job on a budget that, contrary to appearances, is one of the smallest in the pit lane.

The team is well turned-out and unobtrusive, the car is solid and usually reliable - and often contains the odd innovation that is later picked up by the top teams - and they can be counted on to score a hatful of points.

But, perhaps befitting Sauber's Swiss nationality, those points come through steadiness not flashiness.

Sauber pay through the nose for their Ferrari customer engine deal, but it makes sense because the powerful, usually bullet-proof engines give them a solid base.

In 2003, however, their status as a privateer with a limited budget became more obvious than ever.





F1 2003
 

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