Interview with Peter Sauber

Interview with Peter Sauber

21 April 2011 – Peter Sauber's Hinwil-based squad has enjoyed a much more positive time on-track this year compared to the early season difficulities of 2010, with seven points currently on the board after the first three 'flyaway' races. The 67-year-old discusses these promising results, his driver line-up and the new-for-2011 Drag Reduction System (DRS) among other topics ahead of the next round in Turkey.

How would you assess the first three races from the Sauber F1 Team’s point of view? 

This season we wanted to have a car that would be both competitive and reliable from the outset - and we have clearly achieved this initial aim. If it hadn’t been for the oversight with the rear wings in Melbourne, our points total would be excellent; as it is, seven points is still okay. The important thing is that in each race we have been in a position to fight for World Championship points on merit. However, the race in Shanghai also showed that the competition is getting tougher.

It will therefore now be even more important to continue making improvements. Several teams have announced they will be bringing extensive development packages to the next race in Istanbul, and that could certainly shake up the order once again. We have a larger update scheduled for the race in Barcelona.

Does this mean your aims for the season have changed? 

No, that’s not the case. It remains our aim to collect points in every race and improve our position in the Constructors’ World Championship.

How happy are you with your rookie driver Sergio Pérez? 

We knew that in Sergio we were getting a quick, young driver. Even so, with a rookie you never have a guarantee that he will be able to call on his full potential under the pressure of a race weekend. I had high expectations of Sergio, and I have to say that so far he has actually exceeded these. He not only has the ability to look after his tyres extremely well, but also drives very consistently in the races. 

However, Sergio is also well aware that he is at the beginning of a long learning process, part of which will be incidents like the ones last Sunday in Shanghai. I’m in no doubt that Sergio will maximise his huge potential step by step. The critical factor here is that he feels comfortable within the team and has an environment which helps him to develop as well as possible.

How has Kamui Kobayashi risen to the challenge of his new role as team leader? 

As a general point, I would like to emphasise that our drivers are given equal treatment. But when a rookie joins the team, the longest-serving of the two drivers - that’s Kamui in this case - takes on a certain leadership role. Kamui has developed wonderfully well as a driver over the course of the last year alone, and now he is also carrying out his new role by challenging our engineers and helping them to follow the right development path. 

And, of course, he continues to give us a lot of pleasure with his outstanding overtaking moves out on the track. Another very important factor is that he is a true team player, and that’s something Sergio also benefits from. The two drivers really work very well together.


What’s your view on the introduction of adjustable rear wings? 

This new element has provoked an enormous amount of debate among the drivers, team principals and fans alike. The fact is that these rear wings are working less well for some teams than others, and are therefore causing a few difficulties for some. On our cars they have worked well from the first race and do the job the FIA had in mind for them as an overtaking aid. 

However, in my view it’s still too early to come to a definitive conclusion. I think it would be useful if all those involved could sit down in the summer and evaluate the experiences we’ve had with them.

How do you rate the tyre situation? 

Pirelli was given a baptism of fire; the requirements it was asked to fulfil were very tough and the amount of time for development extremely short. They were also asked to produce tyres that would wear more rapidly to inject extra excitement into the races. After three Grands Prix we should applaud Pirelli for getting to grips with this tricky challenge so impressively. 

Our car is very easy on the tyres, but this has not come about by chance. Our engineers started working on this issue at a very early stage and have carried out the requisite measures. And now we can enjoy the benefits of this work during races. Needless to say, the character of the races has changed markedly as a result of the frequent pit stops, and the fans and TV commentators now have quite a tough job keeping track of how the race is unfolding. The same applies for the team strategists on the pit wall.

How would you sum up the all-round development of the Sauber F1 Team? 

The situation as a whole for our team already looks a lot healthier than it did 12 months ago. 2010 was a very difficult year for us. The transformation from a works team back to a private set-up used up a lot of our energy, and at the start of the season in particular, our results on the track were extremely poor.

From this position it was also virtually impossible to find sponsors for 2011. However, our car is no longer all white and we can be proud of that. Inevitably in a team of our size - where the engineers’ ideas outweigh the resources available to them - additional financial resources are reflected directly in performance. We are therefore continuing our search for sponsors.

As far as the technical side is concerned, I would like to underline that the Sauber C30-Ferrari is the first car for which James Key has been responsible. It is now a year since he joined us, and he has done a lot of very good things. On the one hand, there are the structural changes he has implemented. Equally, the car is meeting the aims he set out for it.

With the C29 the main problems concerned driveability on uneven circuits and over kerbs, which could not be alleviated by mechanical adjustments to the car set-up. The C30 gives us significantly greater flexibility in terms of ride height and also has good aerodynamic efficiency. 

To sum up, I can say that the overall development of the Sauber F1 Team is progressing positively, but that we have to continue to work very efficiently and with great dedication against a backdrop of limited resources in order to achieve our goals for the season.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 26 October 2014

  2. Video of the Day: McLaren's first world title 05:00

    Video of the Day: McLaren's first world title

    Forty years ago on October 6, 1974, Emerson Fittipaldi secured McLaren's first-ever Formula 1 world title at the United...

    F1
  3. Saturday 25 October 2014

  4. Marussia also set to miss United States GP 10:48

    Marussia also set to miss United States GP

    Marussia is set to join Caterham in missing next weekend's United States Grand Prix after Formula 1 supremo Bernie...

    F1
  5. Ricciardo: Austin best of the new circuits 10:21

    Ricciardo: Austin best of the new circuits

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo believes that the Circuit of the Americas, the venue for next weekend's United States Grand...

    F1
  6. 08:02

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Sepang

    MotoGP
  7. Márquez storms to 13th pole in Malaysia 07:59

    Márquez storms to 13th pole in Malaysia

    World Champion Marc Márquez set the fastest ever MotoGP lap of Sepang as he stormed to a record-breaking 13th pole position...

    MotoGP
  8. Video of the Day: Button on road safety 05:12

    Video of the Day: Button on road safety

    McLaren driver Jenson Button lists the components necessary to be safe on the road.

    F1
  9. Friday 24 October 2014

  10. Caterham F1 set to miss next two races 18:01

    Caterham F1 set to miss next two races

    Caterham looks set to skip the next two Formula 1 races after Bernie Ecclestone gave the squad special dispensation for the...

    F1
  11. Video: Behind the scenes at Force India 16:34

    Video: Behind the scenes at Force India

    Take a closer look at the inner workings of Force India's factory at Silverstone in this behind the scenes video, featuring...

    F1
  12. 15:59

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  13. Grosjean 'very close' to new Lotus deal 15:57

    Grosjean 'very close' to new Lotus deal

    Lotus is just "a few details" away from signing a fresh agreement with Romain Grosjean, according to Deputy Team Principal...

    F1
  14. Caterham handed over to administrators 12:10

    Caterham handed over to administrators

    The Caterham Formula 1 team's management has decided to step back and hand over to administrators, in the wake of a public...

    F1
  15. Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race 09:41

    Video: Mercedes duo in engineering race

    Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg take part in a different kind of battle.

    F1
  16. 09:39

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Sepang

    MotoGP
  17. Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang 09:38

    Pedrosa tops first day at Sepang

    Dani Pedrosa set the standard on the first day of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. The Repsol Honda rider...

    MotoGP
  18. F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test 07:28

    F3 champion Ocon completes Lotus test

    Formula 3 champion Esteban Ocon has completed his maiden Formula 1 test with Lotus after receiving two days of running in...

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight 05:03

    Video of the Day: Pedrosa's Sepang highlight

    Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa picks his fondest Malaysian Grand Prix memory ahead of this year's event.

    MotoGP
  20. Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut 04:16

    Nissany hails 'amazing' F1 test debut

    Roy Nissany described his first experience of Formula 1 machinery as "amazing" after enjoying a day of testing with the...

    F1
  21. Thursday 23 October 2014

  22. Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims 19:39

    Caterham buyer refutes Fernandes claims

    Caterham buyer Engavest "strongly refutes allegations" made by Tony Fernandes and Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald,...

    F1
  23. Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer 15:58

    Fernandes blames Caterham F1 buyer

    Tony Fernandes says the Caterham F1 team's buyer is fully responsible for the ongoing problems at Leafield, claiming that it...

    F1
  24. Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief 15:00

    Ramon Aurin to be Pedrosa's new crew chief

    Ramon Aurin will replace Mike Leitner as Dani Pedrosa's Race Engineer next season. The Repsol Honda rider confirmed...

    MotoGP
  25. Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1 13:21

    Buyer says Fernandes still owns Caterham F1

    The consortium that purchased Caterham F1 at the end of June has insisted that Tony Fernandes did not transfer the relevant...

    F1
  26. Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory 11:54

    Caterham F1 staff locked out of factory

    Further doubt has been cast over Caterham's ability to contest the remainder of the 2014 Formula 1 season after staff...

    F1
  27. MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015 10:55

    MotoGP reveals 25-bike entry list for 2015

    The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has published a provisional entry list for the 2015 MotoGP season, with the...

    MotoGP
  28. Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia 10:13

    Fong completes first F1 test in Valencia

    Adderly Fong completed his maiden Formula 1 test on Wednesday, getting behind the wheel of Sauber's two-year-old C31 in...

    F1
  29. Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up 09:43

    Massa on Austin Fans' Forum line-up

    Felipe Massa, Sergio Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez have been confirmed on the line-up for the upcoming Austin Fans' F...

    F1
  30. Video of the Day: Racing without a driver 05:08

    Video of the Day: Racing without a driver

    A driverless Audi RS 7 was recently sent out to tackle the Hockenheim circuit. Find out how it fared.

    Misc
  31. Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia 04:47

    Félix da Costa to make FE debut in Malaysia

    Amlin Aguri has confirmed that António Félix da Costa will partner Katherine Legge for the second round of the Formula E s...

    Formula E
  32. Wednesday 22 October 2014

  33. Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit 19:37

    Caterham F1 bosses threaten to quit

    Caterham's new bosses have warned that they could be forced to step away from the F1 team, claiming that Tony Fernandes...

    F1
  34. Haas: First five years revolve around survival 17:06

    Haas: First five years revolve around survival

    Gene Haas is under no illusions about the task his Formula 1 team faces when it joins the grid, stating that he will be...

    F1
  35. Background: The Toro Rosso candidates 15:57

    Background: The Toro Rosso candidates

    New Toro Rosso recruit Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver in F1 history when he takes to the grid aged 17 next...

    F1
  36. Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation 15:12

    Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation

    Mercedes-Benz will stage the once annual 'Stars & Cars' event at its Stuttgart museum on November 29. Lewis Hamilton, who...

    F1
  37. Sam Michael set to leave McLaren 13:15

    Sam Michael set to leave McLaren

    McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the season. A McLaren spokesperson has confirmed...

    F1
  38. Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015 11:12

    Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015

    Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez says he expects to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2015 season, despite admitting that the...

    F1
  39. 09:43

    Photos: Márquez, Pedrosa visit Indonesia

    MotoGP
  40. Pérez on brink of new Force India deal 09:34

    Pérez on brink of new Force India deal

    Sergio Pérez says he is likely to sign a fresh Force India deal "in the next week", a move that would complete the outfit's...

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success 05:15

    Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discusses the brand's maiden Formula 1 Constructors' success.

    F1
  42. Tuesday 21 October 2014

  43. Silverstone senior executives suspended 13:55

    Silverstone senior executives suspended

    The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has taken "a closer role" in the day-to-day running of Silverstone following the...

    F1
  44. Caterham insists team not threatened 12:25

    Caterham insists team not threatened

    Caterham has dismissed media reports suggesting that Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) being placed into administration will...

    F1
  45. Lotus mourns death of Total chief 11:08

    Lotus mourns death of Total chief

    Lotus says it has been left "shocked" and "deeply saddened" by the death of Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of team...

    F1
  46. Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name 09:50

    Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name

    The Spa-Francorchamps circuit says it will contest an application from car manufacturer Nissan to trademark "Eau...

    F1
more news