The Chinese Grand Prix in Shangahi ended for the Sauber F1 Team with a big disappointment : Adrian Sutil was forced to retire on lap six due to an engine problem. Esteban Gutiérrez had a decent pace in the early stages of the race, but then the rear tyres lost most of their grip which forced him to change from the planned two stop strategy to three stops, eventually finishing 16th.
Esteban Gutiérrez, #21, Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari), 16th: “It was a very complicated race in terms of tyre management. With these kind of temperatures the prime tyres were not really working for us. We had to do a three stop strategy, which ended up as a disadvantage for us. With our current pace we could not have higher expectations in terms of our results. I have total faith in my team, everybody is putting their best efforts into everything. I believe that Barcelona is the place where we can recover, make a step forward and fight for better positions and points.”
Adrian Sutil, #99, Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari), DNF: “Unfortunately it was a very short race for me. During the formation lap I already had problems. As it was a quite slow formation lap, I was not able to identify what the problem was. I just realised the engine was not working properly. At the start I had almost no power. Going into the first corner I noticed there was a problem with the engine. I lost a lot of positions during the first lap and fell back to last. I did a few more laps, but then went back to the pits. The team tried to solve the issue, but we could not do it quickly. I had to retire. However, I am still positive and looking forward.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “Of course it’s a shame that Adrian suffered an engine problem after only a few laps and was never really able to get into the race. In Esteban’s case, we have to analyse everything in order to understand why the rear tyres suddenly lost so much grip. We are obviously not happy with this kind of performance. We are going through a tough time, but this is no reason for us to bury our heads in the sand. We need to continue working in a very focused way and make sure we get the maximum from our development package for the next race in Barcelona.“
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “This was obiously not the the result we wanted. For Adrian, the race was over before it had really started. His car suffered a major engine problem, which Ferrari will have to investigate. For Esteban, the beginning of the race was quite okay. He started on the soft tyres, and, as expected, they grained. Then on the medium tyre things went quite well in the beginning, but from lap 25 on the rear tyres lost grip massively, which forced us to change from the planned two stop strategy to three stops. We have to analyse what exactly was the problem. The only chance we had was to get the maximum from the new tyres, but the performance was simply not good enough today.“