Sauber's newly installed Technical Director James Key was frustrated to see the team's best chance of opening their F1 points account pass by as the team left the Chinese Grand Prix and Shanghai with nothing more than another double DNF.
Driver Kamui Kobayshi was one of the drivers taken out in the lap one crash, the Japanese describing how the Force India of Tonio Liuzzi “just flew” in his car at the apex of turn six. However, as the safety car was scrambled to retrieve the debris which also took out Sebastien Buemi it presented a golden opportunity to Pedro de la Rosa in the sister C29 chassis.
As a huge majority of the field pitted for intermediates, half a dozen cars, including the experienced Spaniard opted to stay out on slick tyres, including eventual winner Jenson Button.
The restart saw de la Rosa battling with Renault's Vitaly Petrov for fourth, matching the pace of the Russian. De la Rosa's race looked to be getting even better as those that had pitted for intermediate tyres found conditions too dry and were forced to pit again, but just as his position in the top five was being cemented the Ferrari engine in his car expired, leaving the team as spectators for the remainder of the race.
“I am deeply disappointed. We made all the right tyre decisions,” he said. “I started on slicks and managed to stay out in the drizzle. I enjoyed overtaking and then I was in fourth. When you are in a situation like this you really have to finish.”
“We missed a great chance today.”
“It was a very exciting race today for watching,” said Key, perhaps searching for the silver lining on his weekend cloud. “But frustrating for us.”
“Pedro was driving an excellent race,” he continued. “He made a great call on the tyres and the team went with that decision. He stayed on the dry option tyres while others changed to wets [actually intermediates].”
“Sadly there was a problem with the car. It is engine related but we can't say whether it's a specific engine problem or a problem related to the chassis. We still need to analyse that when the car comes back. It was a points' opportunity today, but unfortunately it didn't happen.”