After eight months, the Sauber F1 Team’s trucks finally leave the workshop again this Sunday. Their destination will be the kick-off for the European races at the Spanish Grand Prix, which takes place on 10th to 12th May in Barcelona. Sauber F1 Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez know the Circuit de Catalunya well. However, both drivers agree that, since winter testing in February and March, many things have changed. During the first four races, the C32 has been updated. For the fifth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship the team will bring further aero updates and a modified rear wing to the race.
Nico Hülkenberg (car number 11):
“I’m looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix because it kicks off this season’s European races. Barcelona is a nice city where you can get a real feel for the Spanish life style. We know the Circuit de Catalunya well, of course, from the winter tests. However, since winter testing many things have changed and also the climate will be different from the one we had in February, which you have to take into consideration. The circuit is diverse. The first two sectors are fast with fast, long corners, which require good down force and a well-balanced car, whereas the third sector is quite technical. The aero updates we bring to this race will show how well our car is suited to this track.“
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12):
“The first time I raced in Barcelona was in 2008. I know the track and during the winter tests I was also able to experience driving a Formula One car there. As the first of a series of European races, I think it is going to be an exciting event and I’m looking forward to that. The track is quite demanding, especially the last sector. Tyre management will be crucial here, and, especially during a qualifying lap, you need to nurse your tyres in the first two sectors in order to get a clean third sector. You must make sure the tyres still have good grip when you approach the final corners of the lap, including the chicane. We have to wait and see if the updates will help us to catch up with the guys further up the field.“
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“Although Barcelona is a track we know well from winter testing, the higher temperatures do change how the tyres perform, so we have to adapt to that. The first two sectors are biased towards higher speed corners, whereas the third sector is dominated by a technical sequence of lower speed corners, hence the set-up is always a compromise. The option tyre will be the medium compound and for the prime Pirelli are re-introducing the 2012 hard compound for this event. We have some further aero updates, including a modified rear wing, and we will be evaluating these during Friday practice. Qualifying is particularly important here as overtaking can be difficult in the race. Our target for the race is to finish with both cars in the points.”