After a challenging weekend in Montreal, the Sauber F1 Team is heading out to Azerbaijan for the 8th round of this year′s Formula 1 World Championship. It is the second time that the Grand Prix will be hosted at Baku City Circuit after its debut in 2016 so data and track time experience could prove to be a puzzle for everyone.
Both drivers expect the problems they experienced in Canada in managing tyre temperatures and wear to follow them to Baku. Earlier this week TJ13 released a statement saying how they were disappointed with the Canadian performance and seemed to blame tyre performance overall, and that they must get to the bottom of the issue. The team run last years Ferrari engine and the driver lineup have never managed to finish any Grand Prix in the top 7.
Saubers top scoring driver Ericsson has now started 63 Grand Prix and his best finish in 8th place was taken back in 2015.
Marcus Ericsson said
“This will be our second trip to Baku – definitely an interesting location. It is a
city track with long straights and interesting corner combinations, making it
quite special. Last season, relatively high track temperatures had an impact
on our tyre management. I expect that we will have similar conditions this
year. As a team, our goal remains to make further progress in improving the
performance of our car.”
Pascal Wehrlein added
“I am really looking forward to getting back into the car in Baku. Last year′s
race weekend in Azerbaijan was quite interesting for all of us, because it
was the first time that a Formula 1 GP took place there. Finding the suitable
car set-up for this track was a challenge to all of the teams. Due to the layout
of the track, top speed and traction are the key factors for success.”
Baku is one of three city races on this year′s calendar, the others being Monaco and Singapore.
The disappointment for the team might not end in Azerbaijan this coming weekend; long straights challenging top speeds, but also require good traction, braking (especially turn one), and tyre management.
The Sauber F1 Team has 4 points to its tally and currently holds 9th place in the Constructors’ Championship.
They’ll qualify 19th and 20th, unless Palmer has an exceptionally bad day. If either finish they’ll be lapped at least once, keeping their 2017 record intact. The team has been on a downward spiral since Kaltenborn became team principal. Maybe it’s time to make a change there.
The downward spiral will continue next year if they do indeed become the only Honda-powered team. At least right now they have a 2016 Ferrari engine that is ‘not bad’.