Directly after the race in Sepang, the Sauber F1 Team is travelling to the third round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship taking place from the 4th to 6th April at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Test and Reserve Driver Giedo van der Garde will be called into action for the first time this season for FP1 on Friday. Regular driver Esteban Gutiérrez will take over from Second Practice on. Van der Garde will also be at the wheel of the C33 on day two of testing, which will take place from the 8th to 9th April in Bahrain. On day one Sergey Sirotkin will drive the car in order to fullfil the requirements for the Super-Licence.
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 21): “Bahrain is a track which we all know pretty well from testing. We have good references from there, and it will be very interesting to come back and to see what our improvements are in comparison to the first two races. The Bahrain International Circuit has a special track characteristic. Based on what we learnt from the first two races, I think we can make another step in terms of drivability. We made improvements on the braking and I believe we can push these even further. Everyone in our team and Ferrari are doing their best to get things done properly. My favorite part of the track is the last one with the fast corners. The left-hander which goes uphill is very interesting. Besides that, it will be a nice feeling to race for the first time in Bahrain at night. I do believe the track in Bahrain will also help us to have more stable tyre temperatures as the weather will be good.”
Adrian Sutil (car number 99): “This year Bahrain will host a night race, so it won’t be as hot, and the data collected during the pre-season tests will only be of limited significance, which makes it interesting. The tyres especially will behave differently, but we can go back to our data from the night race in Singapore. I am looking forward to the race weekend. Night races are always interesting and provide a great backdrop for the spectators. It is special to drive at night. I like the layout. The pit facilities are very modern with a lot of space. My favorite parts are the fast chicane in turns six and seven, as well as the fast section in the last sector. We have spent a lot of days testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, but driving there was always fun. I like being in Bahrain. It’s a small country, but it is interesting and has a lot of history.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “We went testing in Bahrain twice before the start of the season and were not happy with the performance of the car, which had a lot to do with a lack of straightline speed and some issues under braking. However, since then, we have improved the car in different areas, particularly under braking. In addition, the performance in medium and high speed corners is quite good as well. However, we still have room for improvement in low speed corners, and the straightline speed is still an issue. Pirelli will provide the Medium and the Soft compounds, hence, the same tyres we had in Melbourne. I think this is a good choice for the Bahrain track, because it is more abrasive. We are constantly working on fine tuning all the systems with the goal to provide the drivers with a car which gives them the confidence to push it to the limits. In addition, we will continue our weight saving programme during the upcoming races.”