Sauber have come away from the Canadian GP in a less than jubilant mood with concerns over tyre use and management that management will need to get to grips with before the low grip surface in Azerbaijan is tackled.
Feelings from the Sauber team camp in Canada were not as optimistic as they have been. They were disappointed with the qualifying positions they managed in Montreal.
All in all, the Ferrari engined Sauber C36 lacked overall performance and Pascal Wehrlein made a driving mistake at the end of Q1 – spinning in turn 1 and hitting the barriers, but did not sustain any injuries.
“It has been a difficult weekend for us so far struggling with low grip, especially yesterday. We were able to make some progress in understanding the tyres better, but we are obviously not fast enough to keep up with the pace of our competitors. It is positive that I feel more comfortable with the car today, and the changes we have made on the car side could help us tomorrow in race conditions.”
“The spin into the barriers was my mistake. I went too far to the right while breaking in turn one and ended up driving over grass. I am very sorry for the team, especially the mechanics, who have been working so hard since the Monaco race – and today will be another long day for them.”
The Sauber F1 Team entered the sunny and dry 70 lap race at the Canadian GP with rather low expectations after the qualifying result on Saturday. Qualifying was a losing battle with low grip and general tyre management.
Marcus Ericsson started on ultrasoft tyres and drove a one-stop strategy, while Pascal Wehrlein started from the pit lane on supersofts (2 pit stops) as a result of changing his rear wing after his accident in the qualifying.
Ericsson commented “Overall it has been a tough weekend, but I got the maximum out of the car in the race. We made a step forward with our tyre management throughout the race. The pace that I had was similar to our direct competitors for most parts of the race. Now we have to build on that and take those insights with us to Baku.”
Baku (or Sorry the Azerbaijan GP), I am informed by TJ13 technical advisors, is likley to be a challenge to get tires to switch on for many teams due to a low grip surface. This is reflected by the majority of the teams stacking up Ultra Soft tyre choices.
Wehrlein Added “It was a difficult weekend – for one because of the crash in the qualifying, and also because I could not keep up with the lap times of the competition. We have to make sure that we understand the reason for that. For now we are focusing on the upcoming weekend in Baku.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal is determined to get to the bottom of the tyre troubles, saying:
“Even though we anticipated that this would be a difficult race weekend, the result is still disappointing. Despite the challenging conditions, Marcus put in a good, consistent and dedicated performance. Pascal wasn’t able to fully manage the tyres, and we are still in the process of analyzing the causes for that, especially regarding the changes in the aerodynamic configuration which we had to undertake before the race due to yesterday’s incident.”
In the end, Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein finished in P13 and P15 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
The two Saubers as well as the remaining cargo will now be flown from Montreal to Baku, where the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan will take place in 10 days time.
In every race this year that a Sauber has finished, they have been lapped, sometimes twice. Getting the tyres to work may be an issue, but the real reason for their lack of pace is due to using last years Ferrari engine, and that was a decision that Sauber themselves made. Blame falls on Kaltenborn and no on else.