Sauber reach the British Grand Prix at Silverstone sitting tenth in the World Constructors’ championship still having failed to score a point all season. Adrian Sutil finished thirteenth last time out in Austria, with Esteban Gutierrez nineteenth after a fraught and disappointing race.
Gutierrez heads into Silverstone already on the back foot, with a ten-place grid-drop penalty carried over from the Red Bull Ring for the unsafe release from his pit stop. He likes the British track, and hopes the upgrades on his Sauber remove some of the driveability issues the young Mexican has suffered so far this season.
“With its fast corners, the track in Silverstone is nice to drive,” said Gutierrez. “In terms of the performance, we are quite limited at the moment. I hope the updates will help us to improve the driveability and the overall performance of the car to a certain extent. However, the weather there is tricky, which can provide some opportunities for us.
“We need to keep ourselves motivated and have to take any chances, as anything can happen during a race. Regarding my accommodation in Silverstone, I will be staying in a motorhome, so it will be a different but enjoyable atmosphere.”
Team-mate Sutil also likes the fast nature of the track, and will be hoping to repeat his efforts of 2013 when he finished in the points for Force India. He also took time to praise the enthusiasm of the British fans.
“I like the Silverstone track,” admits Sutil. “Many fast corners demand high aerodynamic requirements on the car, and a good downforce in order to be fast. It will be interesting to see how we perform there. The weather can also play a major role, as it rains quite often in Silverstone.
“It is traditionally a nice event as there are many fans at the track and the Brits are generally enthusiastic when it comes to motorsport. Last year I had a good race that I finished in the points.”
For the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix, Sauber will allow test and reserve driver Giedo van der Garde to drive in the first free practice session of the weekend, taking over Sutil’s car. He is looking forward to getting back into the car.
“The Silverstone track is a nice one,” said van der Garde. “It has an interesting layout with some high speed corners. It has been a while since I was in the car. The last time was at the test in Barcelona almost two months ago. I have to get back into the game, and I am looking forward to jumping into the car again.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, the Head of Track Engineering at Sauber, hopes the upgrades being fitted to the Sauber C33 this weekend will help to further reduce the deficit to the other midfield runners in the field as the team aim for their first points of a difficult 2014 season.
“The preparation for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is centred around high speed cornering and change of direction,” said Dall’Ara. “The car must be stable and reactive, but also cope well with the bumpiness of the surface. The amount of lateral energy through the tyres each lap makes it one of the most demanding venues especially on the carcass side, thus the medium and hard compounds are allocated as a sort of protection. They should be fine, irrespective of possibly cool and changeable weather.
“The C33 will be aerodynamically updated in the area of the front underbody. Considering that the power limitation will be less severe than in the last two events, we keep targeting reducing the time gap to the midfield.”