LONDON (Reuters) - The struggling Sauber Formula One team announced a long-awaited change of ownership on Wednesday, with founder Peter Sauber retiring and handing over control to the Swiss investment firm Longbow Finance.

The Swiss team, based in Hinwil, said its name would stay the same and Monisha Kaltenborn will remain as principal and chief executive.

Longbow president Pascal Picci will replace Sauber, 72, as chairman of Sauber Holding, the company that controls the team and group.

"It is Longbow Finance S.A.'s clear intention to stabilize the group and create the basis for a competitive and successful future," the team said in a statement before this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest.


"The transaction also secures the continuation of the brand Sauber in Formula One and will open opportunities to further grow the engineering activities of the group."

Sauber, who entered Formula One in 1993 and won a race when it was owned by BMW, are the only team yet to score a point in 10 races this season. Sweden's Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian Felipe Nasr are its drivers.

The team has also been struggling away from the track. Some staff salaries have been paid late, and it skipped this month's in-season test at Silverstone to save money.

"We are convinced that Longbow Finance S.A. is the perfect partner to again make the team competitive and successful in Formula One," said Kaltenborn.

"At the same time the new structure will allow us to finally further expand our third party business in which we commercialize our know-how."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

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