Sauber are aiming to bounce back from a difficult race weekend in Hungary and continue their strong season in Spa-Francorchamps, the home of the Belgian Grand Prix, next weekend.
The C30 will have a new, Spa-specific rear wing and an updated front wing at the low- to medium-downforce circuit as the team aim to pick up more points in the Ardennes.
The team have reason to be optimistic for a good result in Belgium. Spa requires a similar set-up to Silverstone, a circuit where Kamui Kobayashi this year secured his best ever qualifying position of eighth, and team-mate Sergio Perez collect his best F1 finish of seventh.
Kobayashi, like Perez, endured a difficult weekend in Budapest and finished out of the points. The Japanese driver is wary that the weather in Belgium will be changeable, as it was in Hungary three weeks ago. However, he is a big fan of the track.
“Spa is a very beautiful circuit, and one of my favourites,” explains Kobayashi. “It has a lot of high speed corners which should suit our car well, because it has a similar average speed to Silverstone.
“Normally the temperatures are not very hot there, so for the tyres it should not be too difficult. But the weather is always very unpredictable, as it was in Silverstone, at the NÃ¼rburgring and in Budapest, so this could be another very tricky race.
“Sometimes you are in a situation where you have to decide for which conditions you set up the car before you are sure what the weather will be like. If they are difficult, we have to stay cool in the race and make the right decisions. Then we can score a strong result.”
Sergio Perez is also a fan of Spa and, after the long F1 summer holiday, will be glad to get back to driving again next weekend.
“After quite a long break when everybody was on holiday, it is nice to get back into the car again and to the race rhythm,” said the Mexican. “I'm very much looking forward to the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa is a very special place. I think we can pick up again the momentum from before the race in Hungary, and do well there. It is one of my favourite circuits because I love Eau Rouge and the other fast corners. I won in Spa in Formula 3, and also last year in GP2.”
Sauber technical director James Key thinks that getting the Pirelli tyre compounds working in the high-speed corners around this legendary track will be particularly important next weekend. He also says that the entire team are ready to resume racing.
“We're looking forward to getting into the next part of the season and going to Spa, which requires a medium to low downforce level,” he comments. “To date it will be the lowest downforce level the teams have run, but a lot will depend on the weather conditions, because they are very unpredictable. As always in Spa, we have to monitor the weather closely over the weekend.
“The circuit itself is very popular with the drivers, and a great place to engineer a car. The track is primarily high speed with long straights and well known corners. This should suit our car reasonably well.
“The Pirelli tyres are the soft and the medium compounds. We know from Silverstone that the soft tyre works well with the high speed corners, but we have some work to do with the medium compound. The car will have updates to the front wing and a new rear wing which is Spa specific. After a difficult race in Hungary we're hopeful of a better performance in Belgium.”