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Bahrain GP: Sauber optimistic despite grid penalty for Gutierrez


By Berthold Bouman

Bahrain GP: Sauber optimistic despite grid penalty for GutierrezSauber also left Shanghai with mixed feelings; rookie Esteban Gutierrez has a five-place grid penalty as he crashed into the back of Adrian Sutil’s Force India, and Nico Hulkenberg only scored one point for the Swiss outfit after a promising start of the race.

Tom McCullough: We know what has to be done

Just like other teams, Sauber is still working to make the C32 faster, and looking back at the race in Shanghai, Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering, commented, ”From a technical point of view, China was a successful weekend for our team. We had taken some measures before that race, which proved to be effective. We now have a direction, and we know what has to be done. The Bahrain circuit is dominated by several long straights with mainly slow and medium speed corners. This places high importance on an efficient aero package and a car with strong low-speed performance — in particular traction.”

Bahrain is a very demanding circuit, and McCullough said, “The circuit layout is very demanding for the brakes. The desert environment results in quite a dusty track — especially when the wind builds up. The chance of rainfall is low, and the typically high ambient and track temperatures make it a real challenge for the cooling level of the car and management of the tyres.”

Nico Hulkenberg - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg: The brakes will play a significant role

Nico Hulkenberg has good memories of the desert circuit, as he started his first Formula One race there in 2010. He reckons the brakes will play an important role, “I like the track, and there is always a One Thousand and One Nights atmosphere in the paddock. Other than high temperatures, the brakes will play a significant role. There are a couple of long straights where we drive at over 300 kph and then we need to brake very hard into the corners, so it will be the usual balancing act between downforce and top speed.”

Grid penalty for Gutierrez - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Grid penalty for Gutierrez – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez: Penalty doesn’t change my approach or my motivation

A five-place grid penalty won’t make things easier for Gutierrez, but he has learned from his mistakes and is looking forward to another race. “The penalty doesn’t change my approach or my motivation,” Gutierrez said. “China also had a positive side to it, the engineers took several technical measures, which saw an improvement. Bahrain is another hot place on the calendar.”

He thinks the tyres will also play an important role, “The conditions are not as humid as in Malaysia, but you still have to be in good shape to cope with the heat during the race. I know the track from my time in GP2, and I think it’s a nice one with challenging corners. It’s a very demanding track for the tyres.”

Sauber is currently eighth in the race for the Constructors’ Championship, while Hulkenberg and Gutierrez are 13th and 17th respectively in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

Red Bull Bahrain GP Preview
Ferrari Bahrain GP Preview
McLaren Bahrain GP Preview
Lotus Bahrain GP Preview
Mercedes Bahrain GP Preview
Sauber Bahrain GP Preview
Force India Bahrain GP Preview
Williams Bahrain GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Bahrain GP Preview
Caterham Bahrain GP Preview
Marussia Bahrain GP Preview

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