(Sauber F1 Team)
The Sauber F1 Team head to the opening race of the European season, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Barcelona Circuit De Catalunya this weekend following a fantastic start to their 2015 season having secured two double points finishes in the opening four Grand Prix of the season.
The Hinwil based outfit are currently in fifth place in the championship on 19 points. Although they have had a strong start to the season the team are mindful of the fact that they may struggle in the development race with their rivals particularly as the F1 circus is now back in Europe.
The team have confirmed that their test and reserve driver Raffaele Marciello will drive in place of race driver Marcus Ericsson in the opening Free Practice session on Friday. Speaking about this weekend’s race, Marciello stated:
‘Overall, it will be a busy weekend for me. Besides my duties in the GP2 Series, I will be back in the Sauber C34-Ferrari on Friday for FP1. I am really looking forward to it. I enjoy driving on this track, as it consists of fast as well as slow-speed corners. It is important being consistent over a lap, because if you push too much in the first sector, which has some fast corners, the last sector with slow-speed corners could be challenging as the tyres could overheat. My favorite part of the track is the left-right-right combination, turns seven, eight and nine in sector two, which is quite fast. In general I like high-speed corners, and also turn three is nice to drive. After the race weekend, I will have the opportunity to drive the Sauber C34-Ferrari on the second day of in-season testing in Barcelona. I am looking forward to testing the car for one whole day during which I am able to collect some mileage.’
Felipe Nasr has had an extremely impressive start to his Formula One career with the Sauber F1 Team having finished the opening race in Australia in fifth place while he also finished in eighth place in China while last time out in Bahrain the Brazilian finished the race in 12th place one lap down. Speaking ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix Nasr stated:
‘I am looking forward to our first race in Europe. I know the track in Barcelona quite well from many of the series I have raced in. It is a technical track, which requires a good downforce due to its high-speed corners, as well as strong traction because of its slow-speed corners in the last sector. These are the two main factors for a good lap time. We have to maximise everything we have and take every opportunity to fight again for points.’
Marcus Ericsson has also had a great start to the season and has scored five points so far this following an eighth place finish in Australia and a 10th place finish in China. Speaking ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the Swedish driver commented saying:
‘It is nice coming back to Barcelona, a track we know quite well from testing. The track is quite demanding for the tyres, especially for the left front tyre and mainly because of turn three, which is a long, right-hand bend. Normally with the warmer temperatures in Barcelona, I assume the tyre degradation will be quite high. Thus, it will be crucial to find a set-up on which we are able to set good lap times, as well as having good tyre management. These are two facts we need to focus on during the weekend building up to the race.’
Sauber F1 Team Head of Track Engineering, Giampaolo Dall’Ara stated
‘After an encouraging pre-season campaign at the Circuit de Catalunya, we head back there with some solid race achievements and aerodynamic upgrades. The first European race is known for a number of teams introducing improvements to their cars, therefore it will be important for us to keep up momentum and fight for points. We are aware that the conditions will be fairly different to how they were two months ago, and, therefore, some set-up adjustments will be needed to get the medium and hard tyres to work at their best in warmer temperatures. After the race, the team will stay in Spain for the first two days of in-season testing, when Marcus and Raffaele will work through an intense programme mainly featuring aerodynamics, the braking system and the rear suspension.”
© Ben Johnston 2015
© Ben Johnston 2015