The season finale of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship in Brazil was a thriller in which the Sauber F1 Team played various roles. The part of the victim was up to Sergio Pérez who retired on lap one after an accident which wasn’t his fault.
Kamui Kobayashi showed one more time what a great fighter he is. The Japanese driver started 14th and finished ninth. In changing weather conditions with light rain falling twice and, despite pit stop difficulties, he scored two points in Interlagos.
The Sauber F1 Team has finished what has been its 20th season in Formula One sixth in the Constructors‘ World Championship. After 20 races in 2012 the team has 126 points to its tally, while in the previous year the score was 44 points from 19 Grands Prix. In 2012 the team achieved four of its total of 27 podium finishes. Sergio Pérez was second in Malaysia and Italy and third in Canada. Kamui Kobayashi contributed with his third place in Japan. In Malaysia even a second win for the fourth oldest F1 team seemed within reach. With a haul of 20 points at each race, the Grands Prix in Germany and Italy turned out to be the most beneficial weekends for the squad. In Spa both drivers achieved their best grid positions with Kamui starting from second and Sergio from fourth. Nevertheless the Belgian Grand Prix became one of eight races in 2012 that the Sauber F1 Team left empty handed.
Sergio Pérez finished his second Formula One season tenth in the drivers’ championship (66 points). Kamui Kobayashi is 12th at the end of his third full F1 season (60 points).
Kamui Kobayashi: 9th
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056)
Start on new hard tyres, after 8 laps change to intermediate tyres, after 18 laps change to new hard tyres, after 54 laps change to intermediate tyres.
“I had a good start and stayed out of trouble. The beginning of the race was good. Then the track conditions became tricky with the drizzle and I had contact with Mark Webber’s car. That was why we had to change the nose cone when I pitted for intermediate tyres after eight laps. At my second pit stop after 18 laps I changed to hard slick tyres. For some reason it was a rather long stop, but nevertheless afterwards I was in sixth again. I think we did my last pit stop one lap too late. The conditions were right for Intermediates again. However, the weather forecast apparently said something different and then we also had a problem with the front left. At the end I was much quicker than Michael (Schumacher) and tried to overtake him, but on the inside it was a lot wetter than on the racing line and I lost the rear. Overall I think it was a really good race. I was able to do my own race and fight. I am happy for the team and for myself that we have scored points in this our last race together. I want to thank Sauber for the good times we have had and now I will try to find myself a Formula One cockpit for next year.“
Sergio Pérez: DNF (lap one)
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056)
Start on new medium tyres.
“I really wanted to finish the season in a different way. It was a great season with three podiums and I want to thank everyone at Sauber. I wish the team all the best and will now take on my new challenge. I didn’t really understand what happened after the start today. I went to the inside to avoid contact with other cars and then people crashed into me.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “It was a thrilling final race of the season which didn’t exactly deliver the result we hoped for. Sergio was pushed out of the race on lap one through no fault of his own, and Kamui showed once again what a great fighter he is. Unfortunately we couldn’t convert that into a better result.
“For our team the Brazilian Grand Prix marks the end of a thrilling and spectacular season. Obviously at this moment we are disappointed we didn’t manage to clinch fifth place in the constructors‘ championship. However, when we stand back we can be proud of what we’ve achieved this year. We got four podiums and a total of 126 championship points. This is 82 more than last season, which is an impressive improvement. Of course we know that with a little more consistency we could have scored even more points. That’s something we will be working on for next season. The race in Interlagos was also the last one with our two drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez, to whom I would like to express my sincere thanks for their great contribution. Sergio will have the chance to show his great talent at the McLaren-Mercedes team, and to Kamui we wish him all the best and that he will have a successful future in motor racing.
“Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel for winning the world championship three times in a row.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “It was a good start for both drivers, but then Sergio was pushed out in corner four. Kamui started on the hard tyres and was able to climb up the field. Then it started raining and it was a good call from the driver’s side to change to intermediate tyres. He was able to make up positions, and also later changing back to dry tyres was well timed. He was able to match the lap times of Ferrari and Red Bull which was good. When it started raining again, everything went wrong. Kamui made a call for intermediate tyres, but before we could change onto them he went off. We lost a lot of time there, and also the pit stop went wrong. Then towards the end he had an additional spin when Kamui attacked Michael. So we finally ended up in ninth.”