Silverstone was another race of disappointment for the Sauber F1 Team, with Mexican Esteban Gutierrez crashing out in a clash with the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, while Adrian Sutil could only finish thirteenth. They go into the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim still a lowly tenth in the Constructors’ Championship.
For Sutil, it will be his home race, and he is looking forward the event and hopes to put a disappointing 2014 season to date behind him to take a positive result from the weekend.
“Hockenheim is my home race and, therefore, a special event,” said Sutil. “I am really looking forward to the weekend. However, I have not raced there since 2010. I like the track, and I have many memories from there. I have raced a lot in Hockenheim and I hope, also for my fans, for a good result as well as an appropriate performance from the team.”
Team-mate Gutierrez will be racing in F1 at Hockenheim for the first time, with the Nurburgring hosting the German Grand Prix in 2013. He has raced at the track in junior categories and admits to liking the track, but feels the Sauber might not be suited to the circuit.
“The Hockenheimring is a track that I always liked a lot,” admits Gutierrez. “I have great memories of it as I raced there in every category during the early stages of my career. I won a GP3 race there in 2010. Hockenheim consists of a few straights, which can be a challenge for us.
“It is a technical track with its high-speed corners and the hairpin after the long straight. Entering the stadium is a very fast corner, and the following “Sachskurve” is a tricky one. The last two corners before the finish line are also interesting, so I think that will be the most crucial part of the track. Other than that, I like the atmosphere in Hockenheim as there are usually quite a lot of fans who give us drivers great support.”
For the fifth time in 2014, Sauber will allow test and reserve driver Giedo van der Garde the opening session of the weekend when he takes over Gutierrez’s car on Friday morning. It will be the Dutchman’s first time at the circuit in a Formula 1 car but took a pole position when racing in GP2 there in 2012.
“For me it will be the first time running in an F1 car in Hockenheim,” said van der Garde. “As the track is fairly close to Holland, I hope to see some Dutch flags around the circuit. I like this track. I have raced there quite a lot in Formula 3, and my last time in Hockenheim was in 2012 for GP2. I got Pole Position, so I am looking forward to going back and to drive there for the first time with the C33.”
Head of Track Engineering at Sauber Giampaolo Dall’Ara described the Hockenheim track as one of many different challenges, with different parts of the circuit having different characteristics that require the car to have good traction and braking stability.
“The track at Hockenheim is a relatively short one, yet offering a wide spread of challenges,” said Dall’Ara. “Its cornering speeds cover every range between approximately 50 kph at turn six to over 220 kph at turns one and 12; good traction is needed, and braking stability. The tarmac is not abrasive, so soft and super-soft tyres seem to be an appropriate allocation for the event. Considering that all the corners, bar three, turn right, the left hand side of the car is going to be the most loaded.
“The race and the test at Silverstone have left their marks on the team. On one side there are positive achievements in terms of overall progress, and on the other hand the amount of wreckage we brought back poses additional work we didn’t need in the preparation for the German Grand Prix.”