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Monaco GP: More aero updates for Sauber, team aims to qualify stronger


By Berthold Bouman

Monaco GP: More aero updates for Sauber, team aims to qualify strongerSauber is also looking forward to round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix, an iconic race staged in the streets of the Principality’s capital, Monte Carlo. Pirelli will bring the soft and super soft tyres to Monaco, and it is expected drivers need several stops to complete the race.

Tom McCullough: We have some further updated aero parts

Sauber’s Head of Track Engineering, Tom McCullough, explains the difficulties of the famous street circuit, “The circuit in Monaco is a real challenge for the drivers and the team. The track improves throughout the weekend and it’s important to give the drivers a set-up that gives them confidence as the barriers are very close.”

Sauber will focus on the tyres, said McCullough, “This will be the first race of the season where we use both the soft and super-soft tyres. We have some further updated aero parts to add to the package we took to Barcelona. Coming off the back of our better race pace in Barcelona, our aim is to qualify stronger, as this is particularly important in Monaco where overtaking is so difficult.”

Hulkenberg waiting in the garage - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Hulkenberg waiting in the garage – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg: In terms of performance, I’m quite positive

For Nico Hulkenberg, the circuit is not only a challenge, but also a joy to drive, and he said, “I’m really looking forward to the Monaco Grand Prix. The circuit along with the backdrop of the principality are just fantastic, and the atmosphere is one of the best in the season. The track is one of a kind with extremely narrow streets that will punish every little mistake.”

And he added, “This is a great challenge between me, the car and the track, and I always have a lot of fun driving there. In terms of performance, I’m quite positive. We’ve seen that the softer tyre compounds suit us quite well, which gives me confidence we’ll have a good weekend.”

Esteban Gutierrez - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez: Management of the rear tyres will be crucial

Esteban Gutierrez is also looking forward to race, but he has never driven a Formula One car on the streets of Monaco, and the Mexican said, “Driving on the limit through the narrow streets of Monaco is something special that I am really looking forward to. It’s one of my favourite tracks. I’ve driven there in GP2 twice and competing there in a Formula One car will be even more challenging and interesting.”

About the track itself he said, “It’s a high down force track with a lot of slow corners, and management of the rear tyres will be crucial. After the positive race in Barcelona, I am focusing on building on my performance there.”

The Swiss Sauber outfit is currently in eighth place of the Constructors’ Championship with five points. Hulkenberg is 14th, and Gutierrez is 16th in the Drivers’ Championship.

Also read:

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


Spanish GP: Sauber to bring several aero updates to Barcelona


By Berthold Bouman

Spanish GP: Sauber to bring several aero updates to BarcelonaLike all other Formula One teams, Sauber are also looking forward to race on European soil again. The Swiss outfit will bring several new aero updates to the Circuit de Catalunya, including a modified rear wing.

Tom McCullough: Our target is to finish in the points

Sauber’s Head of Track Engineering Tom McCullough thinks that, not only the updates, but also the tyres will be the key to success this weekend, “Although Barcelona is a track we know well from winter testing, the higher temperatures do change how the tyres perform, so we have to adapt to that. The option tyre will be the medium compound and for the prime Pirelli are re-introducing the 2012 hard compound for this event.”

And he added, “We have some further aero updates, including a modified rear wing, and we will be evaluating these during Friday practice. Qualifying is particularly important here as overtaking can be difficult in the race. Our target for the race is to finish with both cars in the points.”

Nico Hulkenberg - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg: We know the Circuit de Catalunya well

Nico Hulkenberg is pleased to race in Europe again, and said, “I’m looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix because it kicks off this season’s European races. Barcelona is a nice city where you can get a real feel for the Spanish life style. We know the Circuit de Catalunya well, of course, from the winter tests.”

“However,” the young German said, “Since winter testing many things have changed and also the climate will be different from the one we had in February, which you have to take into consideration.” Asked about the circuit characteristics he commented, “The circuit is diverse. The first two sectors are fast with fast, long corners, which require good down force and a well-balanced car, whereas the third sector is quite technical.”

Esteban Gutierrez - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez: Tyre management will be crucial here

Esteban Gutierrez got his first taste of a Formula One car at the Circuit de Catalunya during pre-season testing in February this year, and is looking forward to race on the demanding track. He also thinks the tyres are important this weekend, “The track is quite demanding, especially the last sector. Tyre management will be crucial here, and, especially during a qualifying lap, you need to nurse your tyres in the first two sectors in order to get a clean third sector.”

And he further explained, “You must make sure the tyres still have good grip when you approach the final corners of the lap, including the chicane. We have to wait and see if the updates will help us to catch up with the guys further up the field.”

For Sauber it has been a difficult start of the season, they have so far only scored five points — courtesy of Hulkenberg — which gives them the right to eighth place in the Constructors’ Championship; Hulkenberg is currently 14th in the Drivers’ Championship, while Gutierrez is 18th.

Also read:

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


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


Chinese GP: Sauber to test new parts at Shanghai


By Berthold Bouman

Chinese GP: Sauber to test new parts at Shanghai - Photo: Sauber MotorsportAfter a short break, Sauber is heading for China for round three of the FIA Formula One World Championship: the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit. The Swiss outfit spent the weeks after the Malaysian Grand Prix analysing data, and have developed new parts for this weekend’s race.

Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: We will bring several test parts to Shanghai

Tom McCullough describes the Chinese track from a technical point of view, “The Shanghai circuit has a good mix of low, medium and high-speed corners. The track has several technical sections where corners lead straight into further corners requiring a good car balance and precise driving. The smooth track surface and typically low track temperatures have a significant impact on how the tyres perform — especially at the start of the race weekend whilst the track is cleaning up.”

Sauber will also bring some new parts to China, and they will be tested during the free practice sessions. “We analysed the data that we collected in Malaysia and found interesting directions for the development of the car, therefore we will bring several test parts to Shanghai. Having secured our first points of the season in Malaysia, we are eager to add to them as soon as possible,” McCullough said.

Nico Hulkenberg - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg: Tyres and strategy will be very important

German Nico Hulkenberg admitted Shanghai is not really his favourite track and said, “The circuit in Shanghai is not particularly one of my favourite tracks, nevertheless it’s a demanding one, especially the first few corners and the corners before the back straight. Tyres and strategy will be very important during the weekend.”

As he wasn’t able to start the Australian Grand Prix due to issues with the fuel system, the Malaysian Grand Prix was his first race with the Sauber C32. “I have a better feeling now I have driven my first race in the C32, especially because we were able to collect a lot of information. In Malaysia we scored points and that is also my goal for China.”

Esteban Gutierrez and his engineer - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez and his engineer – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez: My goal is to improve

The Chinese track is new for Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, and he commented, “I don’t actually know the track yet, so it will be an interesting challenge again to learn the circuit and then to develop confidence throughout the practice sessions.”

And he added, “Learning a new track all depends on the approach you take. You can learn a lot through video footage, your engineer’s advice on the right gears in different parts of the track and, most important of all, the more confidence you have in your car the easier it is to learn a new one. My goal is to improve and I’m looking forward to that.”

Also read:

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


Malaysian GP: Sauber targets to finish both cars in the points at Sepang


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Sauber targets to finish both cars in the points at Sepang - Photo: Sauber MotorsportAfter a dismal performance during the Australian Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg couldn’t even start the race due to a fuel-system issue, the Swiss Sauber team is now looking forward to the next race at the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: Target to finish both cars in the points

“The circuit is technically challenging as there are also two long straights that require an efficient car and also several low-speed corners,” said Tom McCullough, Sauber’s Head of Track Engineering.

“The circuit’s characteristics and typically high temperatures are also a real challenge for the tyres, which is why Pirelli will bring the medium and hard compounds. The weather can also play a significant part during the race weekend as late afternoon rain showers are common.”

Asked about Sauber’s target he said, “Our target for the race is to finish with both cars in the points.”

Hulkenberg hoping for better result at Sepang - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Hulkenberg hoping for better result at Sepang – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg: Malaysia totally different track

“Compared to Melbourne, the track in Malaysia has different characteristics. It’s a fast track with long high-speed corners, which should suit our car well,” said Nico Hulkenberg, who still hasn’t driven a Grand Prix for Sauber, as he couldn’t start the race in Melbourne.

He’s of course hoping for improvement, but the Sepang track is very demanding due to the high temperatures in Malaysia this time of the year, “For the drivers Malaysia is always a challenge because of the high temperatures and the humidity. Lastly there is always a chance of rain, which can be interesting, especially at the start of the race.”

Esteban Gutierrez: Looking to improve performance

Mexican Esteban Gutierrez finished his first Formula One race ever in 13th place, and he is aiming to improve his performance. “With the experience of an entire race here in Melbourne, I can now look at where I can improve as a driver and where we can improve as a team. Sepang is a good track, which I know from GP2. Now I’m looking forward to driving the track in a Formula One car,” the youngster said.

Also read:

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


Australian GP: Rain causes havoc, qualifying postponed until Sunday morning


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Rain causes havoc, qualifying postponed until Sunday morningQualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit has been postponed until Sunday morning, as rain storms caused havoc on the Melbourne track, the start of the first session was already postponed due to the rain, after several accidents the FIA decided to continue qualifying on Sunday morning.

During Q1 several drivers crashed, yellow flags came out several times and in the end FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting decided to postpone qualifying as the conditions on track became too dangerous. When qualifying was stopped, Nico Rosberg was leading Q1 for Mercedes.

Both Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde lost their front wing, Pic’s crash was worst as his car sustained a lot of damage when it hit the barrier at high speed. Miraculously, both drivers made it back to the pits with their damaged car.

Pic commented, “We made the call to switch to inters with about five minutes left of the session and for the first lap it was very tricky — there was a lot of standing water and it was hard to keep the car on track, but it improved pretty quickly and I was starting to push before I touched the white line which caused me to spin and I made contact with the barrier which meant I had to pit.”

Hamilton crashed during his first qualifying for Mercedes - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Hamilton crashed during his first qualifying for Mercedes – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Felipe Massa was the next driver to crash, he lost it at Turn 11 and the Ferrari F138 smashed into the barrier twice, despite the damage, the Brazilian was able to limp back to the garage for repairs.

Not much later Lewis Hamilton lost it at Turn 2 and hit the barrier backwards. He was able to get his beached Mercedes on track again, and later said, “It was pretty straightforward really, I just lost the back end and was in the wall.” And he added, “Fortunately I got going again — I was beached actually, I was stuck and luckily I put it in reverse and reversed half way up the bloody track! I can dust those kind of things off and keep looking forward to tomorrow.”

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the same spot Massa had earlier crashed, Turn 11, he touched the white line, and spun into the barrier, causing a lot of damage to his brand new Sauber C32. Gutierrez said about the crash, “Unfortunately I made a mistake and feel sorry for the whole team. I feel very comfortable with the car and this is something that is a step forward for me. Now, of course, I need to avoid this kind of mistake and try to make the most of my potential.”

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the end of Q1 - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the end of Q1 – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado made a trip through the grass, but were able to bring their cars back to the garage. Perez said, “I think the FIA stewards made the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3. The conditions were becoming too dangerous — in terms of low visibility as well as low grip.”

Jenson Button agreed and added, “I believe the FIA had no choice. It was the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3 until tomorrow, for safety reasons.”

Q2 will start at 11am local time tomorrow, hopefully, under more favourable conditions, the local weather forecast says it should be dry tomorrow morning at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.


Australian GP: Sauber ready for challenging season opener in Melbourne


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Sauber ready for challenging season opener in Melbourne - Photo: Sauber MotorsportThe Sauber team completely renewed their driver line-up for this season, Nico Hulkenberg left Force India and joined the Swiss outfit, while rookie Esteban Gutierrez replaces his compatriot Sergio Perez, who joined McLaren.

Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: The C32 has performed as expected

Head of Track Engineering Tom McCullough was pleased with the test results earlier this season, “Nico and Esteban have quickly settled into their new working environment and have already established strong working relationships within the team, which is very important.”

He was encouraged by the pace of the C32, ”You never know exactly where you sit compared to the other teams during winter testing, but importantly the C32 has performed as expected which is encouraging.”

An unknown factor this season are the new Pirelli tyres, and McCullough said, “It will be interesting to see how the new generation Medium and Super Soft Pirelli tyres perform at a track with less high-speed corners than our two test tracks.” And he added, “Overall the whole team is confident and looking forward to getting out there and starting the 2013 racing season.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn and Esteban Gutierrez - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg, Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn and Esteban Gutierrez – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg: Albert Park challenge for drivers

Hulkenberg now has plenty of experience, and he too is looking forward to the first race of the season. “I’m really looking forward to this race, as Australia is always one of my favorite Grands Prix, and Melbourne has a very special atmosphere, so I’m keen to be there. I also like the track which is not a permanent circuit. We are driving around a lake in a park and, especially during the drivers’ parade, you feel very close to the fans,” said the German.

“The track itself is very challenging for the drivers. It has got a lot of bumps and you have to know how best to deal with them,” he added. He admitted Sauber has a few technical issues to sort out, but he’s confident his team is in good shape, “In terms of competitiveness, the final Barcelona test showed we are quite well prepared but still have some homework to do, and that we still have room for improvement in certain areas. But I’m confident the baseline is  good.”

Esteban Gutierrez: Formula One the next step in my career

Rookie Mexican Gutierrez will make his Grand Prix debut in Melbourne and said, “Melbourne will be my first race in Formula One and I’m sure it will be very special. It’s a track that I don’t know, but I’m confident I will be able to learn it quickly in the free practice sessions.”

About his goals in his rookie year he commented, “Competing in a Formula One race is the next step in my career, and that’s what I need to focus on. One of the things that I need to do is feel natural and relaxed in my surroundings so I can focus on the most important elements during the weekend.”

“I feel I have a good base for the start of the season, but, of course, I will keep on working as I have areas were I can improve. My goal is to exploit the car’s potential and finish consistently within the points.”

Also read:

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


Sauber drivers Hulkenberg and Gutierrez talk about the 2013 season


Interviews conducted by Sauber

Sauber drivers Hulkenberg and Gutierrez talk about the 2013 season - Photo: Sauber MotorsportSauber launched its 2013 contender, the Sauber C32-Ferrari, today at their Hinwil headquarters, time to ask both drivers, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez about their expectations of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Interview with Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hülkenberg, the start of the 2013 Formula One season is approaching. Is the adrenaline pumping yet?
Not yet, no. The moment before the first race in Melbourne will definitely be the one to quicken the pulse!

Nico Hulkenberg - Sauber MotorsportHow did the winter preparations go?
Very good. It was the ideal combination of a 2-week training camp and intensive fitness training.

What are your expectations of the Sauber F1 Team?
We need to build on the solid basis of last year and reach some good results. But it is a whole new season: New game, new luck! We really have to wait and see what happens when we hit the track for the first time. And then we’ll take it from there.

Do you appreciate the close relationships the Sauber F1 Team nurtures with its fans?
Fans are an essential part of sport in general. If you receive so much fan mail, it does touch you personally. I am really trying to answer everything.

Tests involve a lot of hard graft. How do you prepare yourself?
Physical fitness and intensive work with the engineers. But actually I am just looking forward to finally sitting in the car.

How long does it actually take to adjust to a new car?
It is a mix of different factors. It takes a couple of days until every detail is right. Usually the adjustment process is completed when the first race is about to start.

How well do you actually know your team-mate?
We have not got to know each other very well so far, but we met in the paddock every now and then and I value him as a team mate.

What will be the greatest (sporting) challenge of the upcoming season?
To show a consistent good performance at every single race.

Interview with Esteban Gutierrez

Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber MotorsportEsteban Gutiérrez, the start of the 2013 Formula One season is approaching. Is the adrenaline pumping yet?
Not really, as I feel very calm at the moment. My goal is to focus on the most important things in my preparation, and then before Melbourne I’m quite sure we will all have the adrenaline pumping to the maximum.

How did the winter preparations go?
The winter preparations went really well. Apart from all my training back home, I also had the chance to spend very good days in Austria in December and January concentrating on my physical preparation, mainly based on winter sports like CrossCountry skiing, climbing through the snow, etc.

What are your expectations of the Sauber F1 Team?
With the progress the team has made in the previous years, I expect that as a team we will keep going in this same direction in order to reach our goals.

Do you appreciate the close relationships the Sauber F1 Team nurtures with its fans?
Yes definitely, I think that to share all experiences, both failures and victories, with the fans is the way to make sure all the energies coming from our supporters are positive.

Tests involve a lot of hard graft. How do you prepare yourself?
Mainly by keeping my mind clear for the tests so I can give my best feedback to the team, as it is a very important development stage in preparation for the races.

How long does it actually take to adjust to a new car?
In the beginning the most important task is to solve all the car’s reliability issues so we can put in a lot of laps in the tests. Then, of course, another important factor is to get to know the car in race and qualifying conditions, which mainly comes with experience during the first races.

How well do you actually know your team-mate?

I know that Nico has a similar working mentality to mine as prior to making it to Formula 1 we have raced in the same teams for a similar amount of time in the lower categories.

What will be the greatest (sporting) challenge of the upcoming season?
Gutiérrez: To be consistent at a good competitive level.


Sauber present C32 in Hinwil, team well-prepared for forthcoming season


By Berthold Bouman

Sauber present C32 in Hinwil, team well-prepared for forthcoming season - Photo: Sauber MotorsportToday Sauber became the fifth team to present their car for the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship. Drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez unveiled the Sauber C32-Ferrari as is the official name of the car.

Last year Sauber had four podium finishes and scored 126 World Championship points, and the Swiss outfit is looking to build on their 2012 success this season. The new car will make its track debut at Jerez in a few days time, asked about the roll-out in Jerez Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said,” I’m very excited. The roll-out of a new car is a very special moment every year. It’s something you’ve been working towards for almost a year and then you get your first impressions of how good a job you’ve done. Everyone in the team is excited about this moment, because everyone has played their part in it.”

Sauber Team Principal Monish Kaltenborn - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Asked about Sauber’s expectations for this year she commented, “What I can say is that we’re well-prepared, that we’ve got the new car finished in good time and that we’ve met the performance targets we set ourselves internally. That puts us in a confident frame of mind. But we’ll only really find out what it all amounts to at the first race of the season in Melbourne.”

And she added, “We put some good foundations in place last year. And now we want to build on that base and continue to improve as a team.”

Last year Sauber finished in sixth place of the Constructors’ Championship, what is the aim for 2013? “We’re not saying we want to finish in this or that position in the standings, as ultimately other factors will also come into play that are outside our control. What we can be clear about, however, is that we want to continue on our upward curve,” said Kaltenborn.

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All Photos: Sauber Motorsport


Kobayashi thanks his fans, aims for Formula One return in 2014


By Berthold Bouman

Kobayashi thanks his fans, aims for Formula One return in 2014 Ex-Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi has given up his attempts to conquer a seat for the 2013 season, he reported on his website. The Japanese driver lost his seat to Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, but was still hoping to find a competitive team for next year. Thanks to his fans he gathered 8 million Euro to support his bid, but apparently ran out of options.

“I was in the position to bring a budget of €8 million at least,” said Kobayashi on his website. “If you could imagine the time I had, it was an overwhelming reaction and it shows there still is a great potential from Japanese companies.”

And he added, “Unfortunately, the time was still short and I am not able to secure the seat with a competitive F1 team for 2013. I have to admit that it is very sad and [I] feel sorry for [the] fans and Japanese companies who supported me. But I am still confident to make it happen in 2014.”

Kobayashi has stopped his donation program for now, and he will use the money to get a seat for the 2014 season. “I would like to stop the donation for now and while I will save all the money for 2014, I start to look what is the best option for 2013 and also 2014. My main priority is to secure the competitive F1 seat in 2014,” he told his fans.

“I have no interests to race any other categories. I will make an announcement as soon as I make a decision for 2013. So, please wait and really looking forward your support for coming year, too.”

Kobayashi finished in 12th place in the 2012 Drivers’ Championship, as he earned 60 points. He celebrated his biggest success in his native Japan, where he took third place for Sauber in front of a home-crowd.

They only options left for a drive in 2013 were Caterham, Marussia and Force India, but somehow it didn’t work out for Kobayashi, who made name and fame with his aggressive, but fair driving style, and his daring overtaking manoeuvres.

Kamui Kobayashi and Monisha Kaltenborn - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Kamui Kobayashi says goodbye to Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn


Sauber signs Gutierrez as race driver, Frijns test and reserve driver


By Berthold Bouman

Sauber has signed Mexican Esteban Gutierrez as their 2013 race driver, and he will be racing alongside Nico Hulkenberg who will leave the Force India team at the end of the season. The 21-year old Mexican will succeed his compatriot Sergio Perez who will move to McLaren in 2013.

Gutierrez will drive for Sauber in 2013

Gutierrez was already test and reserve driver for the Swiss outfit, and Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn summed up his career, “Esteban has already been part of the team for a long time and we have followed his career very closely. In 2010 we signed him up as an affiliated driver, and in 2011 and 2012 he was our test and reserve driver. We mapped out his path to Formula One step by step. Esteban has great talent and now he’s ready to take the leap.” And she added, “We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez.”

Gutierrez thanked Sauber for giving him the opportunity to become a Formula One driver, “After three years working with Sauber I feel very grateful for all the attention I have received from everyone in the team and for all their input, which has allowed me to develop into a Formula One driver in a very progressive way.”

“Now, after experiencing other categories of racing as an introduction to Formula One, this is the start of the real challenge to succeed at the pinnacle of motor sport,” he added. About his team mate Hulkenberg he commented, “It will be a great pleasure to be racing in the same team as an experienced driver like Nico Hulkenberg. He will be a good reference point for me and will push me to adapt quickly to F1 competition so we can develop the car together with the team in the best way.”

Gutierrez last drove the Sauber C31 during the Young Driver Days at Abu Dhabi, and so did Dutchman Robin Frijns, who has now been promoted to test and reserve driver. Frijns is actually just a few days younger than Gutierrez, and also has an impressive race C.V.

“Monitoring Robin’s racing career“, said Frijns’ team boss Kaltenborn, “makes it easy to spot his potential. This was the reason we gave him the chance to drive the Sauber C31-Ferrari at the Young Driver Days in Abu Dhabi. He managed this very well. We will now carefully guide him to Formula One. This is a long way, but Robin has got the skills to do that successfully.”

Frijns, who also tested for Red Bull at Abu Dhabi, said, “I’m very happy the Sauber F1 Team has given me this opportunity. I would like to thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber for their belief and trust in me by signing me to join their team as a test and reserve driver.”

Of course the young Dutchman is already looking forward to the 2013 season, “With this opportunity I will try to help the team as much as possible and get the chance to learn how Formula 1 works in an extremely professional environment. I am already very much looking forward to getting the 2013 season started and working together with the team.”

Unfortunately this announcement also means Kamui Kobayashi will have to find a new race seat for 2013, and Kaltenborn thanked the Japanese driver for his time with the Swiss team, “This has not been an easy decision for us to take, but we have committed ourselves to a new beginning and our time with Kamui will come to an end after the final race of the season. We wish Kamui all the best for the future.”

Robin Frijns, Sauber’s new test and reserve driver


Indian GP: Sergio Perez could miss Friday practice sessions


By Berthold Bouman

Sergio Perez could miss both Friday practice sessions for the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit, Reuters revealed today (Thursday). The Sauber driver, who has signed a contract with McLaren for 2013, has cancelled his scheduled meetings with the media today.

Perez could miss Friday practices due to a heavy cold

The Mexican driver returned to his hotel after he had arrived at the circuit this morning, apparently Perez is struggling with a heavy cold, tomorrow morning Sauber will again assess the situation and see if he is fit enough to drive.

If there is no improvement the Sauber team could decide to give young Mexican Esteban Gutierrez the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Sauber on Friday, he is also backed by Telmex and is the official Sauber reserve driver.  Gutierrez will also take part in the Young Driver Test after next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and is also tipped to succeed his compatriot Perez at Sauber when he moves to McLaren next year.

If Perez would also miss the race, it would be bad news for his team as they are looking to take over the fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship from Mercedes, to do so they need to score at least 21 points more than the German outfit during the last four races of the season.