After experiencing difficulties in all three free practice sessions ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix – including Sergio Pérez touching the wall once on Saturday – it didn’t come as a surprise that neither Sergio nor Kamui Kobayashi made it into the top ten qualifying.
The Japanese struggled with oversteer and, therefore, didn’t have the absolute confidence in the car that is needed on such a street circuit. Kamui qualified 18th. His Mexican team mate was 14th which took him a lot of effort. Sergio wasn’t happy with his C31 either as a great deal of downforce and grip are missing. It is the first time this year the Sauber F1 Team has had to cope with such disappointment after fitting new parts on the car - previous updates in 2012 had instantly delivered good results.
Sergio Pérez, Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056):
FP3: 18th (1:51.272 min / new super soft tyres / 10 laps)
Q: 14th in Q2 (1:48.505 min / super soft tyres)
“We have obviously had a difficult weekend here in Singapore. The main issue is that for some reason we didn’t get our new package to work. This comes as a surprise because so far all the development steps have paid off. There is a lot of downforce missing. My last lap in Q2 was clear and I think I got the most out of it. We have tried a lot to improve the car’s set-up and everything else, but it didn’t work out.”
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056):
FP3: 14th (1:50.777 min / new super soft tyres / 15 laps)
Q: 18th in Q3 (1:49.933 min / new super soft tyres)
“We have tried everything but could not get rid of the huge oversteer. I have no confidence in the car and this is really the last thing you want to have to cope with on such a street circuit. The problem I have here reminds me somehow of the one I had in Budapest, where I also struggled with the car. Given how the car is, I don’t see how I can recover in the race from where I am starting, but I will not give up, this is certain. Sometimes a safety car deployment or whatsoever can play into your hands and I still hope for the team that we can score some points tomorrow.”
Peter Sauber, Team Principal:
“This is obviously not the result we expected; it’s really disappointing. However, this result is all that we could achieve today. But the race is tomorrow, and this season has shown several times that we are able to score strong results even when starting from lower positions.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“After the difficulties we had yesterday, today in free practice we had a real testing session trying to find a fix for this lack of performance we are experiencing. The situation somewhat improved, but not enough to do better than we did in qualifying. We had a couple of incidents this morning, but that was not the major problem today. The qualifying told the truth where we stand. On the positive side we were able to identify where the problem comes from. Nevertheless we cannot solve it here. Now we have to concentrate on the race for which we have some new sets of tyres left. Normally our race pace is better than the qualifying speed, but for sure it will not be easy.”