Sauber have disappointing start to Abu Dhabi weekend


Neither Sauber driver was happy with the balance of their cars after a difficult Friday practice for the team as they prepare for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the last race of the 2010 Formula 1 season.

Kamui Kobayashi finished the day as only the fourteenth fastest runner. “To me it looked okay in the beginning of both free practice sessions, but for some reason there was no improvement and we were struggling,” commented the Japanese driver. “We were doing a lot of testing and have collected plenty of data. I'm positive we will find solutions for tomorrow.”

Teammate Nick Heidfeld was equally dissatisfied, as he finished the day sixteenth. The German likes the track here in Abu Dhabi, but says that the set-up of his C29 needs work. “I really like driving here, the track is nice,” he said. “The first session wasn't bad but in the second free practice I was very unhappy with the balance of my car. Luckily it is only Friday, and we have time to work that out.”

James Key, the Sauber technical director, explained that the surprise rain in Abu Dhabi this morning delayed the on-track action, and admits that more work needs to be done before qualifying if they are to be competitive this weekend. “It was a late start to the first session after some unexpected rain, but otherwise we did a normal programme with just two runs for both drivers,” said Key. “It was just a matter of looking at grip levels, working on the mechanical set-up and checking different wing levels. In the evening we were reasonably well balanced in the first two sectors with regard to the lap time. However, we need to work hard on the third sector, because we are losing a lot there, and we have to understand why. It's not just down to the downforce level. We have to analyse all the data tonight in order to understand how we can improve there.”