Sauber: Not an easy day because we had some reliability issues

The first day of the European season opener at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona was quite turbulent for the Sauber F1 Team.

On one hand, Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutiérrez and test and reserve driver Giedo van der Garde had technical problems during the practice sessions, but on the other Adrian Sutil’s performance showed that the modifications on the car – aerodynamics, weight reduction and a more efficient cooling – resulted in improved lap times. The team has not been able to exploit all the car’s potential yet.

Giedo van der Garde (car number 36) Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari)

  • 1st practice: 18th / 1:30.440 min (22 laps)

“It was not a good session for me, as I struggled quite a lot. We had a few issues with the reliability of the car. We had problems with braking during downshifting, which created a lot of oversteer. After going out for the second stint, we had a brake problem. It was a difficult situation for me, but the good thing is that I didn’t hit the wall. After that, the team was able to change the brakes, so I could run again and continue our planned programme during the last run. From my point of view, the main issue is oversteer. If we can solve this issue, I think we can further improve.”

Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 21) Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari)

  • 2nd practice: 15th / 1:29.105 min (24 laps)

“In total, it has been taking me some time to adapt to the track conditions and to the new package. At the moment, I don’t feel very confident. I am not very happy with the car’s balance.  We had some issues with the power unit, so we lost quite a lot of time on track, which makes it more difficult to get a proper feeling for the car. However, we will do our best to sort these things out. We have data from Adrian’s car which will help us to analyse the differences between the cars and to find the right balance for tomorrow.”

Adrian Sutil (car number 99) Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 02/Ferrari)

  • 1st practice: 15th / 1:29.688 min (16 laps)
  • 2nd practice: 13th / 1:28.284 min (33 laps)

“We definitely made a step forward today. In the morning it was not easy to evaluate things because we had to solve some minor issues. However, I had a good feeling about the potential of our car, and during the afternoon was able to witness this. My fast lap was ok, but I think we can improve in every corner. If we can implement everything tomorrow, we certainly have a good chance to finish tomorrow’s qualifying in the top ten. I am satisfied with today’s outcome. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are going in the right direction.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “It was definitely not an easy day because we had some reliability issues. This didn’t help as we were going through a very comprehenisive programme with a car that has changed quite a bit. We lost time in the morning when Giedo suffered a brake problem, then we had an issue with the brake by wire bleed in the afternoon, and finally Esteban was hampered by an ERS issue towards the end of the day. However, there are some positive aspects as well. On Adrian’s car we could see we had made a step forward with the modifications we brought to Barcelona. The midfield is very close together, and Adrian was not far away from a top ten position. The difference to Esteban was quite significant, which had to do with some set-up issues. We will have a lot of work to do tonight, but I’m confident we can further optimise the performance.”