Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez feel that Sauber should be competitive at the Singapore Grand Prix next weekend, a race in which both drivers will be hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of gearbox failures in Monza.
“Last year we were quite competitive in Singapore,” reasons Kobayashi. “I made it into Q3, which is a nice memory – very different, of course, to the outcome of the race when I was lying ninth, but made a mistake when the tyres were quite worn and crashed.
“After the European races I'm now looking forward to going to Asia. Singapore has a very special atmosphere, because it is in the city and it is at night. Night racing I must say gives me an extra motivation, and I really enjoy it a lot.
“The Singapore circuit has many corners, they are all quite similar and all very tricky as well. All in all I'm confident for the weekend, and I really want to achieve a good result because it is the last race before my home grand prix in Suzuka, and good results always give you extra motivation and make you stronger.”
Perez has raced at night before, but never at the street circuit in Singapore. Nevertheless, the Mexican shares his team-mate’s optimism.
“I believe the Singapore city circuit could be a good one for us,” said Perez. “Actually I have not raced there yet, but I did a lot of work in the simulator and, knowing our car, I really hope we can have a positive weekend there. We obviously need to score points to get back our sixth position in the World Championship. I have done some night racing in Qatar when I was in GP2. It is a very special feeling if you live at night and it can also be fun.”
Sauber technical director James Key explains just how different the Singapore track is to the recent races, and the challenges that each team will face next weekend.
“Following Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, which are unique circuits, we go to another unique track in Singapore,” he explains. “It's a long and windy high downforce street circuit, which is typically quite bumpy. It needs good mechanical grip. Traction levels and braking stability are important as well. It's a hard circuit for the brakes. We'll be running a high downforce configuration, and we will be working on the mechanical grip.
“Pirelli will supply the soft and super soft tyres, the same as in Hungary, and we feel these are generally better tyres for us than what we have had at the last two events. We'll be looking closely at the balance of the car and its ability to absorb the kerbs and the bumps. We tested some new engine maps in Monza for the first time, and we will develop these further in Singapore. Even with DRS, overtaking will be difficult on this track, so qualifying positions and strategy are going to be important.
“Last year Kamui was able to make it into Q3. Obviously we are keen to bounce back after the disappointment of not scoring the points we thought were certain in Monza.”