The Sauber F1 Team completed 163 laps at the recent test in Jerez despite some continuing gremlins. Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn draws the first conclusions.
How would you sum up the test in Jerez? “We are satisfied with the first test. Our car was ready just in time. The fact that the C33 functioned from the first day on track is a remarkable achievement by the team. A big compliment to everyone involved.”
What was the goal? “We wanted to see if the mechanics and all the systems are working. The cars are very complex this year because of the new power unit, but, as a matter of fact, we have reached a good level already. Of course, it was also important to gather a lot of data. We have a lot of work to do, analysing the data and implementing the improvements.”
However, the drivers weren’t happy with the brake-by-wire system! “Not only the drivers, also the engineers were not happy about it. This was a software issue in the first place. We were able to make improvements throughout the test, but there is still room for improvement. However, our engineers are convinced that they have enough time to solve those weaknesses together with our engine partner by the next test.”
What do you think about the lap times? “It’s very difficult to judge the lap times, because every team ran a different programme, including different fuel loads. The tyres were another important factor to consider. Both our drivers struggled to get temperature into the tyres. And it certainly didn’t help them that we only had a provisional aero package with limited downforce on the car. However, this didn’t come as a surprise to us. We know what to expect. It was our top priority to be ready from the first day of testing, so to be able to drive and collect as much data as possible.”
When can we see the Sauber C33 with the new aerodynamics for the first time? “Fundamentally it’s a very extensive package. We plan to have most of the parts on the car for the first test in Bahrain. This includes new front and rear wings, side pod deflectors, as well as several other small elements on the car. A few other parts will follow for the second test in Bahrain.”
How do you rate the performance of the different engine manufacturers? “Again, it is very difficult to judge at this stage. The only thing you can place in an order is the number of laps the teams did with the respective engines. Here the order is clear: Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault. But to compare the performance is impossible at the moment, also because some might still be playing their cards close to their chests. I am sure there will be movement right up to the first race in Melbourne in that regard. At the moment this is just a snapshot. It will remain exciting!”