Sauber hoping to be competitive again during Singapore GP
By Berthold Bouman
Sergio Perez’ second place at Monza has given Sauber’s confidence a huge boost, and the Swiss outfit is looking forward to yet another great result. It will be the fifth time Formula One visits the Marina Bay circuit in Singapore, a five-kilometre long track which requires a high downforce level and is tough on brakes and tyres. Overtaking is possible, but difficult, and thus securing a high grid position during qualifying is important.
Mexican driver Perez commented, “The Singapore Grand Prix is a very special race on an extraordinary track with a unique schedule. You race at night and you live at night. Also it will be the first round back in Asia after quite a while. The amount of travelling is increasing a lot now. I generally like street circuits and the one in Singapore is physically quite demanding, but I feel prepared for that.”
He is also adamant the track will suit the Sauber C31, “Also for our car it should be an okay track to race on. I am very much looking forward to it and I want to get in another good result for the team at that very prestigious race.”
Kamui Kobayashi is looking forward to the event as well, “As a night race it has established itself as a real highlight. Personally I like the place. Also it’s not too far from my home country, and there are always a lot of Japanese fans.”
About the circuit he said, “The track is quite demanding with a lot of corners, and mostly slow ones. In the past this kind of track didn’t really suit our car, but with this year’s Sauber C31 things have changed. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be competitive there.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering describes the circuit and its requirements, “Good traction is crucial on this stop-and-go track with mainly low speed and just a couple of medium speed corners. In some places the surface is very bumpy — something to bear in mind when setting up the car. You have to keep an eye on the brakes, because they have very little time to cool down between corners.”
But he also thinks the Pirelli tyres will play an important role, “Pirelli will allocate the supersoft and the soft compounds, which should work well in qualifying, but I don’t expect any chance of a one-stop strategy in the race.”
And he added, “One thing we have to consider is that the chance of a safety car period is very high on this track. This means we have to bear in mind the tyre requirements and, at the same time, be ready at any moment to change our strategy in case of a safety car deployment.”
Sauber is sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with 100 points, 26 points behind the number five, Mercedes, and 37 points ahead of rival Force India, who are currently seventh. Perez is ninth in the Drivers’ Championship and has scored 65 points, while Kobayashi is 12th with 35 points.