Sauber's Malaysian Grand Prix weekend got off to a difficult start with neither driver happy with the balance of their car on Friday. Kamui Kobayashi was 14th at the end of the day but his afternoon session was cut short by a gearbox problem, leaving him unsure as to their competitiveness heading into tomorrow.
“It was the first time we have used the 2012 tyres in such high temperatures and the degradation is quite significant. Probably this had an impact as well, but in any case we struggled with the balance of the car quite a lot today. We will have to improve for qualifying and the race, but I'm sure we can do that. It was a shame that I lost so much track time in the second session because of the gearbox problem, but these things happen.”
Teammate Sergio Perez also struggled to get to grips with the Sepang circuit, ending the day in 18th place, but did take some comfort from his performance over longer runs.
“It was a difficult day in terms of setting up the car and getting the balance right. It was better on long runs than on single laps. We managed to achieve some improvements for the second free practice and now we will be looking carefully at the data tonight.”
Head of Track Engineering, Giampaolo Dall'Ara, has made no secret of the fact that the Swiss squad have a busy weekend ahead of them.
“This was obviously not an ideal start to the weekend. We have some work ahead of us to get the car's balance right here. The reliability issue on Kamui's car didn't help, but we will keep working hard and do better tomorrow.”