Sauber avoided any reliability issues during free practice in Monaco today, but the C29 is still lacking pace.
Kamui Kobayashi made contact with a barrier at the swimming pool chicane right at the end of the morning session, but the team were able to repair the Japanese driver’s car before the second session. He ended the day down in 18th. “It is really difficult to drive here and I had a few moments,” explained Kobayashi. “I think we had a reasonable set up from the beginning, but still it was difficult to find grip in the slow corners, which is our main problem. We will work and try to improve the set up.”
Pedro de la Rosa, who finished the day sixteenth, also singled out the car’s problem in the slow corners. “We covered all the mileage we wanted to,” said the Spaniard, “and made a lot of changes between the two sessions. We are heading in the right direction and have more ideas for Saturday. We can still make the car quicker, but we lose too much in the slow corners.
“Personally I started the first session quite carefully. The last time I was here was in 2002, so for me it was like learning a new track and I needed to get to know it again. For the second session I felt a lot more confident.”
Sauber technical director James Key explained the problems the drivers faced during the first session on the dusty street circuit, and said that the team still need to work on the car’s qualifying pace. “Like any first day at Monaco, the track was obviously slippery at the beginning and tricky, so we just allowed the drivers to do their laps and get a feel for the car and the tyres.
“We did some set-up work in the morning and suffered a little bit from the grip level, but everyone had the same problem in that respect. In the afternoon we consolidated on what we found in the morning. We went through another programme on the prime tyres and then tried the option tyres, which worked pretty well by the time we ran them, because the track was in better condition.
“We then went on to some race simulation work. The race pace looked quite reasonable, however, there is work to do on our qualifying pace. That's what we will look at in detail for Saturday.”