Malaysian GP Qualifying: Sauber report

Press release

Malaysian GP – Qualifying – Saturday, 24.03.2012

Weather: sunny and dry, 27-32°C air, 29-44°C track

After both the Sauber F1 Team drivers reported some improvement with the balance of their Sauber C31-Ferraris in the third free practice session in the morning, they had very different qualifying sessions. While Sergio Pérez made it into the final qualifying session, where he eventually finished tenth, Kamui Kobayashi struggled in Q2 and qualified 17th for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Sergio Pérez:
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056)
Qualifying: 10th (1:37.698 min in Q3 / new medium tyres)
3rd Practice: 12th (1.38.178 min / new medium tyres / 15 laps)
“I am very happy we made it into Q3. Considering all the balance problems we had yesterday that we could not fully explain, it was a great achievement today for the team. Also I think our car is still better in race conditions than in qualifying form, so we should have good potential for tomorrow’s race. For some reason it is difficult to find proper grip with the medium compound tyres, but the changes we made after free practice helped a bit. It will be a tough race tomorrow for the car, the tyres and the drivers. I will fight and bring home as many points as possible.”

Kamui Kobayashi:
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 01/Ferrari 056)
Qualifying: 17th  (1:38.069 min in Q2 / new medium tyres)
3rd Practice: 10th (1.37.977min / new medium tyres / 17 laps)
“There was no particular problem on my final lap in Q2 such as traffic or mistakes, but I could not feel the grip with the medium tyre compound. We were struggling a lot with the car’s balance yesterday, but in the third free practice this morning it was better. But the changes we then made for qualifying apparently went in the wrong direction. Looking forward to the race, I can say that the circuit itself isn’t bad for overtaking but I’m not sure we will have enough straight line speed.”

Peter Sauber, Team Principal:
“It’s great for Sergio to be in the top ten. It’s our goal to have at least one car in Q3, and looking at our competitors I know this is very ambitious. Kamui was strong in the first three sessions but then couldn’t benefit from that in qualifying. We have to find out why. The race will be very tough, so there are a lot of unknowns.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“We had a difficult start to the weekend yesterday when we struggled a lot in free practice one, but then we were able to make some improvements during the day and an additional step over night. Today the drivers were happier with the balance of their cars. Sergio was able to convert that into a good grid position, while Kamui struggled on his final run. We have to analyse all the details to understand what happened.”