(Sauber F1 Team)
The Sauber F1 Team's difficult start to the 2014 season continued at the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring today as Adrian Sutil could only manage to finish the race in 13th place after starting the race from 17th place on the grid.
Esteban Gutierrez had a disastrous race for the Swiss based outfit. The Mexican started the race from 18th place on the grid alongside Adrian Sutil. During one of his pit-stop's a wheel was not secured properly to his C33 and as a result he was handed a ten second stop and go penalty along with a ten place grid penalty for the next race, the British Grand Prix in Silverstone in two weeks time.
Gutierrez, was classified 19th, two lap's down on race winner Nico Rosberg.
The Sauber F1 Team remain one of only two team's yet to score point's this season. The outfit started the season with problems's surrounding the new brake by wire system. Following the race Adrian Sutil said:
'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.'
Sauber F1 Team's Esteban Gutierrez said:
'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.'
The Swiss based team's Head of Track Engineering, Giampaolo Dall'Ara said:
'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.'
Team principal Monisha Keltenborn commented:
'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 atmosphere.'
The team will be hoping for a better race performance next time out at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone in two week's time.
© Ben Johnston 2014