Sauber’s ‘yesterday men’
Sauber-Ferrari currently lie fifth in the 2015 F1 constructors’ table and Monisha Kaltenborn believes much of this has been down to a change in their driver line up.
At the USA Grand Prix in Austin, Texas – the announcement was made that Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutuirrez were to be ditched and replaced by Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericson from Sweden.
Speaking to Brazil’s Globo, Kalternborn states, “The drivers make a huge difference.”
Sauber currently have 21 points this year after 6 races, with Felipe Nasr having scored 16 and Ericson 5 points. During the whole of the 2014 campaign, the Swiss team failed to score a single point and were only ahead of Caterham in the constructors’ championship, the other team with ‘nil point’.
The striking blue and yellow liveried Sauber claimed the top spot, as the quickest car in one of the four days testing in Jerez. Back then, F1 observers believed they may have a superior car to their midfield competitors.
Monisha pays lip service to the efforts of Nasr and Ericsson’s predecessors admitting the 2014 F1 car made in Switzerland was “not good”.
Yet the Indian born part owner of the Sauber team is effusive with praise for her new charges, revealing, “They work very well with the team and learn quickly.”
Kaltenborn puts this down to the fact that Ericsson and Nasr “have a completely different attitude [compared to Sutil and Gutierrez], and this is something we all can feel.”
Yet given their early promise, Sauber’s current P5 altitude in the constructors’ championship will be as good as it gets.
A quick look at where Sauber scored have scored their points this year is pretty damning. In China Nasr was P8 and Ericson P10, scoring 5 points between them. Nasr picked up two points in Monaco, but the rest of Sauber’s scoring effort was in Australia – with a P5 for Nasr and a P8 for Ericsson.
The season opener in Melbourne, Australia is notorious for throwing up results which a not presentative. In 2014, the two McLaren drivers made their only trips to the podium for the year and this year in Melbourne – just 11 cars finished the race.
Whilst the power of love and appreciation may be motivation for moving mountains, the big improvement for Sauber this year has been the much improved Ferrari hybrid engine.
It would not be hard to envision Mclaren, Toro Rosso and Lotus climbing above the Swiss team as the season progresses, making it harder and harder for them to improve much further on their haul of points to date.