Exclusive interview with Monisha Kaltenborn

Exclusive interview with Monisha Kaltenborn

20 May 2014 – Sauber has endured a challenging start to the 2014 Formula 1 campaign, ending the first five races as one of just three outfits, alongside Marussia and Caterham, without a World Championship point. GPUpdate.net sat down with team boss Monisha Kaltenborn to discuss the past, present and future.

From your point of view, how has the season been going for Sauber?
Well, it's been a tough start. We are clearly not where we want to be. We could see that in the tests when we were having our issues. We put a plan together with what we want to do and we are implanting that step by step. So we've been doing for the last three races, but we did have a bigger package in place for Spain.

We understand the car was too heavy. How much of a difference does this extra weight make?

It's true that the car was too heavy and that of course has a direct impact on your lap time. We know how many kilos mean what in terms of lap time, depending on the circuit. It was a very big handicap. But if I compare things with last year, I am convinced that the base of the car is good. We have also sees that to have a good performance this year a lot depends on how competitive, aside from reliability, your powertrain is. We saw in the first few races that one powertrain definitely has an advantage compared to the others and the teams using that powertrain are benefiting from that directly. I expect that in due course there will be changes. We definitely won't give up on this season and with the packages we are bringing together with improvements of our engine supplier we do hope to come back.

Are you happy with the performance of your drivers, Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutiérrez?
We first have to concentrate on where the team stands. We are not where we want to be and the races have been quite challenging for us. The drivers have been in all sorts of incidents they did not cause themselves. I think we now have to have a little bit more of experience where everything more or less goes the way we want to. When we have everything in the right place, then it's maybe time to think about how the drivers perform.

What do you make of new reserve driver Giedo van der Garde?
I'm very impressed with the way Giedo has adapted. The positive outlook he brings and the openness are very important in seasons like this when the cars are so fundamentally different to what they were before. He didn't have any time in the car and the moment he came in there and did the test, he very quickly learned the way to drive it, adapted very well to the new systems and started step by step to improve. That tells you how comfortable he is with the car. He gives very good feedback which has been invaluable to the race drivers and the engineers who work on developing the car. We have been very positively surprised about what he's showing.

Giedo's goal is to race for Sauber in 2015. Do you see him as a big candidate?
As our test driver he is getting his experience in our car. Let's first see a bit more this season. When the time is right we will decide who will our drivers next year.

Besides Giedo, you also have Simona de Silvestro and Sergey Sirotkin in your talent pool. Both Simona and Sergey are being prepared for a race seat in Formula 1. It seems like the team has a shortage of race seats…

We have plans in place with all them. They all have very specific functions. We first have to look at this year and then we'll see what the future brings. The roles are very clearly defined. We have our two race drivers, we have a test and reserve driver, which is Giedo, we have a test driver, which is Sergey. With him our aim is still to prepare him for his way into Formula 1. Now, however, he has to focus on another series. He has to show his talent there. And he's very young, so we are not under time pressure there. Then we have Simona, who is a so-called affiliated driver. She's taken up a very different challenge compared to the others. She has a lot of racing experience in the US and taking the step from the US to here is a very challenging one. So now it's important that each one of them concentrates on what they are supposed to be doing. And then we will see what happens.

Simona recently had her first test. What would it mean to you to have a female driver on the grid?
For me personally I think it would be a great signal. There has been so much talk about female drivers. As a driver she definitely is one of the most outstanding candidates to take up this kind of a position and I guess to be competitive. It's great to watch her and very interesting to see how focused she is and how well prepared she was for the test. She listens to the engineers and tries to learn instantly and implement it, which also shows how she's getting better. We have a very exciting project with her and I think it would be good for the sport.

Sergey made his Formula 1 debut last year with a demo run in Sochi. What is the current situation there? There are some rumours that the race will be cancelled?
I don't know anything about that. In my view it is going ahead and we don't have any information to the contrary.

Sauber took on some Russian partners last year. How's the team doing this year financially?

We are still in, I would say, a challenging situation, but we are step by step getting out of it. It's certainly not easy, particularly this season, where so many more costs have come onboard, particularly with the new powertrain and associated systems. It is very challenging still. The important thing is that we are working on getting out of it and the direction is right. It just takes some time. Sometimes you can't push things more. You need to be patient and make sure you are moving little by little.

What is possible in terms of results this season?
It's very difficult to predict right now, because as I said, a lot at the moment depends on the powertrain, aside from your reliability. I do hope that in due course the gap between the different powertrains becomes a little bit smaller and that we will see some changes on that side. So it's very difficult to predict right now.

Mercedes is dominating right now. Will any team be able to catch them this year?
It will be very tough. They have a very big competitive advantage. So it will not be easy.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Wednesday 29 June 2016

  2. 17:02

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  3. Sainz Jr. to stay at Toro Rosso in 2017 15:50

    Sainz Jr. to stay at Toro Rosso in 2017

    Carlos Sainz Jr. will remain at Toro Rosso in 2017, for what will be a third successive campaign, Red Bull team boss Christian…

    F1
  4. Video: Vettel's Austrian Grand Prix guide 15:44

    Video: Vettel's Austrian Grand Prix guide

    Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel looks ahead to this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.

    F1
  5. Lauda: Halo could threaten F1's DNA 15:32

    Lauda: Halo could threaten F1's DNA

    Triple Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda reckons the sport's DNA could be threatened by its ongoing safety drive, which…

    F1
  6. Stoner makes Ducati MotoGP test return 13:03

    Stoner makes Ducati MotoGP test return

    Casey Stoner has returned to action for Ducati during this week's private MotoGP running at the Misano circuit, marking his…

    MotoGP
  7. Various track changes at Red Bull Ring 12:36

    Various track changes at Red Bull Ring

    Various track changes have been made at the Red Bull Ring ahead of this year's Austrian Grand Prix, with extra run-off areas and…

    F1
  8. Video: Brawn BGP 001 back in action 12:02

    Video: Brawn BGP 001 back in action

    Watch as Martin Brundle drives Jenson Button's 2009 title-winning Brawn-Mercedes BGP 001 at Goodwood.

    F1
  9. Räikkönen told to prove he 'deserves' seat 10:35

    Räikkönen told to prove he 'deserves' seat

    Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has told Kimi Räikkönen he must prove that he "deserves" a contract extension by…

    F1
  10. Binder takes Matsushita's seat for Austria 08:23

    Binder takes Matsushita's seat for Austria

    René Binder will replace the banned Nobuharu Matsushita at ART Grand Prix for this weekend's GP2 round in his home country of…

    GP2
  11.  Preview: Austrian Grand Prix - Round 9 07:26

    Preview: Austrian Grand Prix - Round 9

    Formula 1 teams head to Spielberg, Austria for the first of four Grands Prix in just five weekends, as part of a particularly…

    F1
  12. Video of the Day: Perfect F1 pit-stop 05:28

    Video of the Day: Perfect F1 pit-stop

    Go behind-the-scenes at the McLaren Technology Centre to discover what goes into a perfect pit-stop.

    F1
  13. Tuesday 28 June 2016

  14. 16:35

    F1 photos: Hockenheim media event

    F1
  15. In photos: Austria and its F1 drivers 15:42

    In photos: Austria and its F1 drivers

    Austria and the Red Bull Ring play host to Formula 1 this weekend, but there is no home racer for the local crowd to support. It…

    F1
  16. Aguri to leave FE after selling licence 14:37

    Aguri to leave FE after selling licence

    Team Aguri has announced that it has agreed the sale of its Formula E licence to new investors, meaning this weekend's season…

    FE
  17. Williams confident over Austria chances 14:12

    Williams confident over Austria chances

    Pat Symonds is confident that Williams will deliver another strong Austrian Grand Prix performance, though remains wary of…

    F1
  18. Mallya targets more podium finishes 12:32

    Mallya targets more podium finishes

    Force India team boss Vijay Mallya has set his sights on achieving further podium finishes over the course of the 2016 campaign…

    F1
  19. Pirelli reveals British GP tyre selections 11:08

    Pirelli reveals British GP tyre selections

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has revealed the team-by-team tyre compound selections for the British Grand Prix, with the Soft…

    F1
  20. Video: IndyCar Road America highlights 11:04

    Video: IndyCar Road America highlights

    Watch highlights of last weekend's Kohler Grand Prix at Road America, won by Penske driver Will Power.

    Indy
  21. Rosberg set for new two-year deal 10:22

    Rosberg set for new two-year deal

    Nico Rosberg is close to signing a two-year contract extension to remain at Mercedes, with only small "details" to be finalised…

    F1
  22. Steiner: Haas will get on top of tyre woes 10:12

    Steiner: Haas will get on top of tyre woes

    Haas team boss Guenther Steiner is adamant that the outfit will eventually get on top of its tyre-related struggles, linking…

    F1
  23. Hernández left to rue lost victory chance 09:22

    Hernández left to rue lost victory chance

    Aspar rider Yonny Hernández was left to rue a lost victory chance as he crashed out of the lead during last weekend's Dutch TT…

    MotoGP
  24. Ecclestone to look at 'more equal' payments 07:46

    Ecclestone to look at 'more equal' payments

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says that he will be looking into how prize money is split and handed out within the sport…

    F1
  25. Video of the Day: Ferrari at Goodwood 05:18

    Video of the Day: Ferrari at Goodwood

    Ferrari presents highlights of its time at the 2016 edition of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

    F1
  26. Monday 27 June 2016

  27. Wolff: Mercedes' competition 'growing' 16:32

    Wolff: Mercedes' competition 'growing'

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has urged the squad to cut out mistakes at upcoming Grands Prix to deal with "growing" competition from…

    F1
  28. McLaren focused on reliability, points return 15:12

    McLaren focused on reliability, points return

    McLaren-Honda's focus at the Austrian Grand Prix will be on improved reliability and a return to the points-paying positions…

    F1
  29. Hamilton keen to 'tick off' Austria victory 14:32

    Hamilton keen to 'tick off' Austria victory

    Lewis Hamilton says he is keen to "tick off" the Austrian Grand Prix from his list of Formula 1 victories after finishing as…

    F1
  30. Sette Câmara to test for Toro Rosso 13:58

    Sette Câmara to test for Toro Rosso

    Red Bull youngster Sérgio Sette Câmara will drive for Toro Rosso at the post-British Grand Prix test. Brazilian racer Sette…

    F1
  31. Redding delighted with return to podium 12:38

    Redding delighted with return to podium

    Pramac Ducati rider Scott Redding hailed an "amazing" result at the Dutch TT as he finished on the podium for the second time in…

    MotoGP
  32. Video: Chandhok onboard at Goodwood 11:33

    Video: Chandhok onboard at Goodwood

    Ride onboard with Williams Heritage Driver Karun Chandhok as he pilots the FW08C at Goodwood.

    F1
  33. Rosberg eyes third straight Austrian GP win 11:19

    Rosberg eyes third straight Austrian GP win

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has set his sights on securing a third successive Austrian Grand Prix victory at this year's event…

    F1
  34. Assen hints at potential Formula 1 interest 09:28

    Assen hints at potential Formula 1 interest

    Assen has indicated that it would be interested in hosting Formula 1 in the future, should a Dutch Grand Prix make a return…

    F1
  35. Salo tips Bottas to end up at Mercedes 08:32

    Salo tips Bottas to end up at Mercedes

    Mika Salo says he is "pretty sure" that fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas will make the move to Mercedes later in his Formula 1…

    F1
  36. Video of the Day: Testing Fangio's cars 05:00

    Video of the Day: Testing Fangio's cars

    Formula E's Bruno Senna and Jérôme d'Ambrosio tries some of Juan Manuel Fangio's cars in Argentina.

    FE
  37. Sunday 26 June 2016

  38. Power outduels Kanaan to Road America win 21:01

    Power outduels Kanaan to Road America win

    Will Power won a dramatic and frenetic shootout at the end of IndyCar's return to the legendary Road America circuit on…

    Indy
  39. 18:12

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Assen

    MotoGP
  40. Lorenzo considered withdrawing at Assen 18:11

    Lorenzo considered withdrawing at Assen

    Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has admitted he considered withdrawing from the Dutch TT as he struggled for performance…

    MotoGP
  41. Márquez lauds 'important' Dutch TT result 16:21

    Márquez lauds 'important' Dutch TT result

    Honda rider Marc Márquez hailed an "important" race at the Dutch TT as he opened up a solid advantage in the MotoGP…

    MotoGP
  42. Espargaró secures two-year Aprilia switch 16:12

    Espargaró secures two-year Aprilia switch

    Aprilia has confirmed that Aleix Espargaró will ride for the team in 2017 and 2018, alongside Sam Lowes, meaning the outfit…

    MotoGP
  43. Miller ecstatic to reward Honda's faith 15:55

    Miller ecstatic to reward Honda's faith

    Jack Miller says his shock maiden MotoGP victory justifies Honda's faith in him graduating from Moto3 straight to the premier…

    MotoGP
  44. Delétraz triumphs in second Paul Ricard race 15:12

    Delétraz triumphs in second Paul Ricard race

    Louis Delétraz narrowed the gap to championship leader Tom Dillmann as he claimed his second Formula V8 3.5 victory of the…

    FV8 3.5
more news