The Sauber F1 Team’s drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutiérrez finished the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg in a disappointing 13th (Sutil) and 19th place (Gutiérrez).
The decisive factor for the way the race went was Esteban’s first pit stop, which went wrong. The wheel nut was not secured, however, he received the instruction to move off, but stopped the car immediately afterwards. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication during this incident and Adrian Sutil was asked to stop his car. Sutil lost a lot of time and Gutiérrez got a ten second stop and go penalty.
Esteban Gutiérrez, car #21, Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 01/Ferrari): “It was not a satisfying race. We made a mistake during the first pit stop, as the wheel nut on the right rear wheel was not secured, so I had to stop in the pit lane and my mechanics had to pull me back. Afterwards, I got a ten second stop and go penalty. Apart from this incident, I was trying to get the most out of the car. I got a lot of blue flags, so I had to let other cars by, which resulted in slower lap times. We tried by compromising qualifying in order to get a better race pace, but it didn’t seem to pay off. It was difficult to keep the tyres alive.”
Adrian Sutil, car #99, Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari): “From a driving perspective, it was a good race. I had a good start and was able to gain two positions on the first lap. Up to lap 15, after my first pit stop, everything went according to our plan. Suddenly, I got the instruction through the radio to stop the car immediately. However, the radio communication was not for me, but for Esteban. After telling me this I immediately continued in the race, but I had already lost quite a lot of time due to this incident.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “Our work today is not acceptable. Such a mistake at a pitstop must simply not happen. We will carefully look into our procedures and the consequences, and we will take appropriate measures. Today, both drivers put in good performances, but this doesn’t help when we make mistakes. We cannot afford that. Concerning the event in Spielberg, I would like to forward a big thank you to the organisers and the spectators for welcoming us to this great race and creating such a fantastic atmoshpere.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “What we delivered today is inexcusable. Our performance was decent, considering our potential, but the mistakes at the pit stop spoiled our race. Procedures were not adhered to. As a result we stopped the wrong car on the track. Equally unacceptable was Esteban’s first pit stop, during which he was released although the wheel nut on his rear right wheel didn’t go on. At the same time, Adrian, who was out on the track, was stopped by a radio communication which was simply a huge mistake.“