Sauber Formula One have today confirmed the signing of Audi Sport Technical Director Jörg Zander, who joins the team in the role of Technical Director from the 2017 season. 52 year old Zander is no stranger to the world of Formula One and Sauber, having worked at the Swiss team in 2006 and 2007 under the BMW Sauber banner prior to stints at the BAR-Honda F1 Team (2002-2005) and as a Chief Designer for Williams GP Engineering (2005-2006) and Deputy Technical Director at Honda Racing F1/Brawn GP during Ross Brawn's championship winning season with Jenson Button in 2009. Having spent recent year's working for the ultra successful Audi Sport LMP1 Endurance programme, Zander makes his return to the Suaber fold on the back of one of the teams least competitive seasons in recent history. “I am delighted to return to the Sauber F1 Team in my adopted home country of Switzerland,” said Jörg Zander. “After many years at the top level in endurance motorsport, I am very pleased to become Technical Director and to undertake the challenge with Monisha Kaltenborn, the team, all the outstanding engineers and mechancis in the new era of Formula 1. The new Formula 1 regulations offer a great opportunity to point the way with innovations and technical creativity. One of my tasks will be to define a stable and efficient technical organisation that evolves the potential of creativity and, therefore, the basis for the development of successful Formula 1 cars. Initially we obviously want to improve and establish ourselves as a team in the mid-field. Overall it is a challenge which I await with excitement and enthusiasm.” Sauber have already confirmed their intention to run a 2016 specification Ferrari engine next year, potentially putting the team at an early disadvantage for the coming season. The team will be at pains to improve on a performance that has yielded no points so far in 2016 and leaves them plumb last in the Constructors Championship, with seemingly little sign of improvement heading into the final two races of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. With fresh investment in the team, and a driver line-up yet to be finalised, Sauber will be keen to strengthen many areas of the team heading into the winter months. CEO and Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn was understandably positive about the announcement of Zander heading up the technical section of Sauber, and had the following to say on today's news: “We are very pleased about the appointment of Jörg Zander as our new Technical Director at the Sauber F1 Team. We are honoured that we have convinced such a renowned and experienced technical leader to be part of our team and plans for the future. This is a very important step for the implementation of our strategic goals, in order to guide the team into a new and successful era. Zander fits well into our team, he has a lot of know-how in Formula 1, as well as in motorsport in general. As Technical Director he will have the overview as well as the responsibility for all technical departments. In our factory in Hinwil he will have the possibilities to work technically at a very high level. We are convinced we will make progress with him. We wish Jörg Zander a good start on his return to Sauber, for which we ensure him our full support.” Will 2017 mark a turning point for this popular little team, and can some of the success enjoyed by Zander in WEC transfer to a squad who have looked a pale shadow of their former selves in recent years? Only time will tell... At RaceDepartment you can discuss the world of Formula One with your fellow fans of the sport. Head on over to our Formula One sub forum and join in the discussion today. Are you surprised by the Audi exit from Endurance Racing? Do you think the signing of Zander will boost Sauber's prospects in Formula One next season? Let us know in the comments section below!