The Sauber-Ferrari team experienced their second consecutive double did not finish when both cars were eliminated by crashes that were of no fault of their own. The Marussia of Jules Bianchi knocked out Adrian Sutil, but Esteban Gutierrez had a frightening crash when punted into a roll by the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.
“Let’s start with the positives: We are pleased that Esteban is fine after his spectacular accident,” said Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “Generally, it was a weekend to forget. We knew before that on this track our limitations with the powertrain would be significant. This was confirmed during the race. Nevertheless, losing both cars through accidents is very disappointing. In both cases, it was not the fault of our drivers. We will now forget this weekend and focus on the upcoming race in China, where we expect some improvements.“
Head of Track Engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara echoed the sentiments of his team principal, but admitted the team are currently disadvantaged by the Ferrari powertrain the team utilises compared to the Mercedes powertrain that was the engine to have in Bahrain.
“We are relieved that Esteban is uninjured,” said Dall’Ara. “After Adrian’s accident, we changed his front nose and sent him back into the race. However, we noticed that the damage to his car resulted in a massive degradation of the performance. Therefore we decided to retire him from the race.
“With regards to the performance, we were in a similar situation as before. On this track it was obvious that one of the three manufacturers had a huge advantage regarding the powertrain. This also resulted in an advantage for the respective customer teams. For the race in China we will have updates for the car and will try to improve.”
Adrian Sutil started the race last and was still battling with the Marussia’s and Caterham’s when Jules Bianchi, who earned his second two-point penalty on his licence for the incident, crashed him into.
“My race was over quite early,” said a solemn Sutil. “Jules braked too late and went into my car in the hairpin. I was not able to do anything to prevent it, and my car was damaged. He was driving aggressively for the whole race and pushed me off at the start. With his move he destroyed mine as well as his own race. It was unnecessary.
“In general, the weekend was difficult for us. However, I wanted to finish the race to cover more kilometres and also to gain experience with the car. The next race in China will come soon, so it can only be better.”
Team-mate Gutierrez was lucky to escape injury after the Maldonado crash that led to the Venezuelan being given a ten second stop and go penalty, a five place grid drop penalty in China AND three points on his licence.
“First of all, the most important is that I am ok,” said Gutierrez, who was obviously shaken after the crash. “They did all the checks at the hospital and everything is fine. Concerning the accident, I was completely surprised that Pastor, who came out of the pits, ran into me. I was clearly in front of him. I turned into the corner and I was suddenly hit and I rolled over. There was nothing much I could do.”