Salo warns Kovalainen about switch to Sauber

(L to R): Mika Salo (FIN) with Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus. Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday 21 July 2011.Jul.20 (GMM) Mika Salo has warned his fellow countryman Heikki Kovalainen to think twice before switching to Sauber.

Finn Kovalainen, at the back of the grid with Caterham for the past three seasons, has been linked with a step up the grid to Sauber for 2013.

“It could be a good place for him,” former Sauber and Toyota driver Salo told the MTV3 broadcaster, “but it’s also a little risky.

“This is not a top team – their car is not necessarily always good,” the 45-year-old said. “At the moment, it is.”

After subbing for the injured Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 1999, Salo returned full-time to F1 with Sauber but then left at the end of 2000.

“I know from my own experience,” said Salo, “that Peter Sauber is not the easiest person in the world to work with.

“Maybe it will be different when Monisha Kaltenborn is in charge, but how much will Peter Sauber be able to stay away from running the team?” he wondered.

Sauber’s current drivers Sergio Perez and, particularly, Kamui Kobayashi, have been criticised in 2012 for not delivering on the full potential of the Ferrari-powered C31.

Peter Sauber refers to the car as the “best” in the team’s 20-year history.

Chief executive Kaltenborn, however, said not only the drivers are to blame.

“The difficulties have been accidents, technical failures, strategies not working,” she told the FAZ newspaper.

She is also quoted by Blick newspaper: “We need to improve our results sheet as quickly as possible.

“We have two very fast drivers in a learning process.”