Marussia points success puts pressure on Sauber

Jules Bianchi and the Marussia crew celebrate in Monaco
Jules Bianchi and the Marussia crew celebrate in Monaco

Marussia’s stunning Monaco Grand Prix weekend has put pressure on rivals Sauber – but the Swiss team remain confident that they will soon be back in front.

Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn told Reuters after the team again failed to score their first point of the season that they had just been unlucky.

“You could see the cars were in the race, the car was showing good performance,” she said after Germany’s Adrian Sutil and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez both crashed out.

“To lose, (or not make use of the chances of actually such sure points in this way) and through such mistakes, is very unfortunate.”

Sutil lost control under braking as he exited the tunnel on lap 24, smashing into the barriers, while Gutierrez was running in the top 10 when he hit the guardrail and spun at Rascasse, 18 laps from the end.

The Mexican said afterwards it was “probably the most painful mistake in my career”.

With them out of the way, Marussia’s Jules Bianchi came through from the last row of the grid, and despite two stop/go penalties, took two points – his team’s first in more than four years of trying.

The result catapulted Marussia ahead of Sauber into ninth position overall.

Sauber, who use the same Ferrari power unit as Marussia, have had financial problems but are a bigger team and have never scored fewer than five points in a season since they entered the sport in 1993.

“Of course it’s not a comfortable situation…clearly this has put more pressure on us,” said Kaltenborn.

“I am confident that whatever races are going to come now, with the updates we have and the understanding we have from the car, we will improve. But it’s not a nice situation to see. It’s pressure you don’t need.”

Sauber started the season with a car that was overweight, and Kaltenborn said that there was clearly room for improvement.

“From the data we have, the basis is good compared to last year,” she said. “This year is very much also characterised by the powertrain, where we had our issues, but it’s not only that. I am very confident that both [Ferrari and Sauber] are working hard to get better.” (Reuters)

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