Chinese GP: Sauber preview

Kamui Kobayashi

Apr.9 (YF1) With the Chinese Grand Prix taking place on 18th April in Shanghai, the team is preparing for its next trip to Asia. It will be the first race with new Technical Director James Key on board.

Pedro de la Rosa: “The Shanghai Circuit is one I really like and enjoy. The last time I raced there was in 2006 and I finished fifth. It is a good track with a very long straight and nice overtaking opportunities. Overall the circuit has a great variety of corners, including hard braking for a hairpin and other corners which flow nicely. We are working hard on improving the performance of our car. There are 16 races to go, so the season isn’t over by any means. Looking at the reliability I’m quite relaxed. What happened in Malaysia was extremely unlucky and will not happen again.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “I’m very excited to be racing in Shanghai for the first time in Formula One. I had a good weekend there with GP2 Asia in October 2008. I was second on the grid, set the fastest race lap and just missed winning after a safety car period. The circuit is very nice and the grandstand is really impressive. Actually I like the hard braking before the hairpin after the long straight. I feel it will be difficult for us in Shanghai, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I generally like racing in Asia, and with Japan not being that far away I usually see more fellow countrymen there than in Europe. Shanghai as a city is an exciting place too, but unfortunately we don’t get to see much of it as the track is pretty far away from its centre.”

Technical Director James Key: “I’m looking forward to the first race with the team. I arrived in Hinwil after the Easter weekend and met a lot of people. I got a very good impression of what’s going on. There is obviously work to be done, but the spirit within the team and the motivation are very high. What is now beginning to emerge is the direction we need to go in. Everyone is pushing very hard, and we are making plans at the moment on the direction we should go in the future to keep developing. I haven’t been to the track this year, so it’s going to be interesting to see how things are run, learn a bit about the tyres and talk to the drivers. It will be the first time I see the C29, so it will be good to have a close look at it along with Willy Rampf and go through it in detail.”

“As far as the circuit is concerned, it’s a fairly similar downforce level to what we have experienced on the past three circuits. It’s another purpose built track with some interesting features. There’s a very long straight, therefore downforce is a compromise. It’s a fairly high grip track, which might mean taking a little bit of wing off. Braking stability and traction are very important, and you have those two snail like corners which are tricky for the drivers. We have to see how the cars and the tyres deal with it. We hope for the best and will try to get some points.”