Sauber had a good haul of points yanked from their grasp today after gearbox problems ended the races of both drivers at the Italian Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez was running in a safe P7 on a well-executed one stop strategy before he lost all his gears on Lap 33 whilst Kamui Kobayashi, who was recovering well after being an innocent victim of the first corner accident, had his race cut short ten laps earlier.
“Despite our poor grid positions, we were doing well in the race, but then both of us retired, and that is tough,” said Perez. “I started 15th and our race strategy was to do a very long stint on the harder tyres – the medium compound – and in the end only a short stint on the soft tyres. From lap 20 I had been in seventh. I had a gap in front and one behind, so it all looked good, but then first of all I could not use third gear and then after that couldn't shift in any gear. We missed a great opportunity to score points today.”
Kobayashi also feels that he could have finished in the points today, had his race not been brought to a premature end by this technical issue. “This is, of course, disappointing for everybody,” he said. “I had no power anymore no matter which gear I selected.
“Until then it had been quite an exciting and difficult race for me. I had a set of the new harder tyres – the medium compound – for the start and, of course, the plan was to stay out with them for a long time. Sergio proved later that this was possible, but after the accident in turn one, which involved a couple of cars, everybody tried to stop so as not to run into the accident. I touched the car which braked in front of me. Not only did my front wing come lose, but I also damaged a tyre and therefore I had to change to a set of used soft tyres. Because of this our strategy was ruined, but I was still very confident about scoring points today. It is a true shame.”
Peter Sauber said that his drivers were well positioned for a good race today, and feels that Sauber have lost a decent amount of points with these gearbox failures.
“We deliberately put all our focus on the race, accepting that this would compromise our qualifying performance,” said the eponymous team principal. “Our performance today proved that this approach worked out perfectly. We were faster than our direct competitors. Today it would have been easy to score many points, but both our drivers were stopped by gearbox problems, Kamui on lap 23, and Sergio on lap 33. Sergio drove an excellent race and was safely in seventh at that time, and running on a one stop strategy which was perfect today. In addition, our car was as fast as expected today.”