Sauter Engineering + Design is an extraordinary team in ADAC Formula 4. A family-run team from Switzerland, they are taking on the really big professional teams. While Michael Sauter is at the wheel of the 180-hp Formula 4 car, family members take on other roles at the racetrack.
Gempen is about a 30-minute drive southeast of Basel. The small town in the alpine republic is home to Sauter Engineering + Design. The team is contesting its second season in ADAC Formula 4 in 2022, and is pitting itself against the more established outfits. On ADAC Formula 4 weekends, Michael Sauter can count on the full support of his family, as everyone is pulling together to realise the big dream of a career in motorsport. “My father is both team principal and head mechanic, my grandfather helps on the mechanics side and looks after the tyres. My mother takes care of administrative affairs. I can also depend on the support of my sister. She helps me with my preparations, such as my warm-up programme,” says Sauter, describing the division of roles.
“The top drivers race in the ADAC series, so it is a very good opportunity to compare yourself with them. The circuits are also great. After all, we race on current and former Formula 1 tracks,” says the 17-year-old. Sauter has already had some thrilling battles in this season’s six races so far. His best results so far have come at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) and the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, where he finished eleventh out of 21 drivers.
Having to take on better-equipped opposition is nothing new to Sauter: “I know this scenario from karting. We soon got used to the fact that we are the ‘minnows’. The other teams definitely have an advantage when it comes to data analysis and know-how, but we are still giving it our all. On the track, I put that out of my mind and just try to overtake the others.”
Through the weekends in the ADAC’s junior series, the Sauters are creating “great experiences, that we enjoy looking back on”. Sauter hopes, like his fellow drivers, to achieve the dream and make a living from motorsport. However, should that not materialise, he already has an alternative lined up: “If not, I will continue the family tradition and work in my father’s body shop.”
The next ADAC Formula 4 race weekend takes place from 24th to 26th June at the Dutch Formula 1 circuit in Zandvoort, where it shares the bill with the ADAC GT Masters.