After a double retirement in Canada last weekend, Sauber are hoping that a new aerodynamic upgrade will turn their fortunes around at the European Grand Prix in Valencia.
Kamui Kobayashi will not be the rookie in the team this weekend, as he has raced here twice in GP2 whilst Pedro de la Rosa as never driven this circuit. The Japanese driver is aware of the track’s reputation for providing dull racing. “From what I have seen so far the Valencia street circuit doesn't seem to be the most exciting track, but I only know it from two GP2 races and racing there in Formula One will be different,” said Kobayashi, optimistically. “I like driving over the bridge, which makes the track quite distinctive.”
“It might not be as hot as last year when the race was two months later, but I still expect rather high temperatures, which is fine for me. It is another race in Spain, and in Barcelona we had one of our better weekends in terms of performance, so I hope we can achieve a positive result.”
Pedro de la Rosa will be celebrating his second home race of the season in Valencia but he is also aware that next weekend’s race may not be that exciting for his compatriots in the grandstands.
“It is a great achievement for Spain to have two Grands Prix and we do have a fantastic crowd,” said the Spaniard. “[It is] a little bit of a downer for the spectators is the fact that on both Spanish circuits overtaking is very difficult. Usually you don't see much overtaking in Barcelona or Valencia.
“Turn two should be the best option for overtaking, but I have not driven the Valencia street circuit yet so there might also be others. In the two races I have finished this year I have been fighting for the points until the last few laps of each race. We will be bringing several new parts for the car so I expect a step forward here.”
Sauber Technical Director James Key says the street circuit in Valencia does provide particular challenges for the teams, and is hoping that updates will kick-start the Sauber’s season.
“For Valencia we return to a higher downforce level, similar to what we had in Istanbuland a step up from what we had in Canada. The fact that Valencia is a street circuit with small run-off areas can make for an eventful race, so you have to stay away from the walls.
“The circuit is very stop-and-start, which means acceleration and braking performances are important with relatively slow speed corners in between each straight.
“We have a new aero upgrade for the European Grand Prix, which should make the car more efficient and a little bit easier to set up. This is the first of our mid season updates. We have to see how we go in Valencia. We are looking to bounce back after a difficult weekend in Canada.”