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Sauber founder 'hurt' by team's struggles and hardship

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Peter Sauber no longer has a vested interest in the eponymous team he founded, but that doesn't mean he is indifferent to the outfit's results.

The 74-year-old former team owner has retired from the sport but still has part of his heart entrenched in F1 and in the Swiss team in particular.

So watching Sauber's drop-off in performance these past years from the sidelines hasn't been easy.

"It hurt," he admitted. "We should at least be in the midfield and I think that's possible as well."

While saddened but his ex-team's lack of recent achievements, Sauber is happy to be no longer involved with the Hinwil-based squad.

He's also proud of the heritage he created when he entered F1 in 1993.

"It was important for me to get away and it wasn't so hard either, because the two years before that were very demanding," he said.

"To survive as a Swiss team for 25 years in formula one is actually an impossible mission. Today, Sauber is the fourth oldest team after Ferrari, Williams and McLaren."

Peter sees the team's association with Alfa Romeo as beneficial but doesn't believe the legendary Italian brand will ultimately wipe-out the Sauber name from F1.

"I do not believe that," Sauber insisted.

"Maybe it happens in Italy, and that would be fine because Alfa Romeo is a name that arouses passion. But I do not see the Sauber name taking a back seat. I see the addition of Alfa Romeo as a clear appreciation.

"For the team, it is a stroke of luck that the whole thing was orchestrated by Sergio Marchionne, because he has a very successful reputation in the automotive industry," he added.

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