Sauber introduces new fuel system measures

Sauber have introduced new measures to ensure the problem that meant Hulkenberg was unable to compete in the opening race of the 2013 F1 season will not happen again.

“What happened was that many factors led to the creation of a vacuum in the fuel cell – so it collapsed in on itself,” Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn explained.

“That damaged the fuel cell. The engineers already had a good understanding of it in Melbourne. We tested some things here and had some tests in Hinwil.

“We have introduced a couple of measures and looked at different reasons that should lead us to solve the problem.”

Kaltenborn also said that the problem was disappointing for Hulkenberg as he had qualified well and had a chance to score some points.

“Everything is no speculation in terms of where he could end up,” Kaltenborn continued. “He had a good chance to get in the points and if you see this chance fizzle out maybe two hours before the race, it is particularly disappointing.”

Hulkenberg disappointed at having to sit out Australian GP

Nico Hulkenberg has said he is disappointed that he was unable to race at the 2013 Formula One season opener.

The German driver had qualified in 11th position however hydraulic problems coupled with a qualifying session that took place just six hours prior to the actual race start meant he was unable to get his car fixed in time.

“I’m bitterly disappointed about what happened today,” Hulkenberg explained. “But at the same time I’m not blaming anyone. Things like this happen in racing.

“What is particularly bothering me is the fact that I lost all this mileage today, which is so important particularly at the beginning of the season. It would have given me a lot of valuable data and information for the next races.

“Obviously, Melbourne is not a good place for me. It was my third grand prix here and the third time that I leave this place empty handed. The only good thing is that the next race takes place next weekend.”

Hulkenberg plays down ongoing Ferrari rumours

Nico Hulkenberg has played down continuing suggestions he has merely ‘parked’ at Sauber for a year, before possibly switching to Ferrari in 2014.

Told that the rumours are still abounding in the paddock, the German driver said: “It doesn’t concern me at all.

“I don’t talk about the contents of my contracts and, anyway, I haven’t even done a single race for Sauber yet,” said the 25-year-old, who has moved from Force India to Ferrari-aligned Sauber for 2013.

He continued: “Of course I hear the speculation, and it’s even a form of recognition, but the whole thing leaves me completely untouched,” Hulkenberg is quoted by the SID news agency.

“I am concentrating completely on the coming season and, first of all, Melbourne.”

Told, however, that a driver of his rising stature and potential must be targeting a future seat at Ferrari, he answered: “But it doesn’t mean I will (go).”

Source:GMM

Gutierrez expects Hulkenberg to beat him early in 2013

Esteban Gutierrez is expecting his Sauber teammate to outpace him early in 2013.

A test driver for the Swiss team since 2010, the 21-year-old Mexican has finally moved into the race cockpit this year, as his Telmex-backed countryman Sergio Perez moves to McLaren.

Team founder Peter Sauber admitted earlier this month that he would like Gutierrez to match the more experienced Nico Hulkenberg “right from the beginning” in 2013.

Gutierrez said: “He has three years of experience, and I cannot compare with that, but for me he is definitely a great reference. I will use the opportunity to adapt quickly and be at his level this season, but just not right at the beginning,” he told the Spanish newspaper Marca in an interview.

Source:GMM

Hulkenberg changes shoes to fit in new Sauber

Earlier this month it was reported that Nico Hulkenberg was having trouble getting his feet into the footwell of the new Sauber C32 – with Bild saying that the car could not be rebuilt to accommodate the German’s feet. It has emerged that Sauber have now found a solution to the problem – by getting Hulkenberg to change his shoes.

Talking to Auto Motor und Sport Hulkenberg saud, “The problem was simply that we did not have the correct size (boot).

“We have the right shoes now, and they fit. We did not need to change the chassis,” he smiled.

Source:GMM

Hulkenberg’s feet too big for new Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg’s feet are too big for the footwell of the new Sauber C32.

As he began his career with the Swiss team at Jerez last week, the tall German discovered that his racing boots are too big to fit easily on the throttle and brake pedals. And “The car cannot be rebuilt,” Bild newspaper correspondent Nicola Pohl reported.

Hulkenberg confirmed: “We have cut the rubber soles back at the heels to give us some more space.”

Tight squeeze aside, the new grey Sauber made an impression on the competition last week.

Asked which car had surprised him the most, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Blick newspaper: “The Sauber! Just like 2012, they have made a good car again.”

Source:GMM

Hulkenberg: Cosworth not as good as Mercedes, Ferrari

Nico Hulkenberg is well placed to comment on the respective strengths and weaknesses of most of the current engine suppliers in F1.

When he debuted in 2010, the German’s Williams was powered by a Cosworth, while last year he raced a Force India with a Mercedes V8.

And on Tuesday at Jerez, his brand new Sauber had a Ferrari engine.

Asked to nominate the differences, the 25-year-old said: “Mercedes has the most power at the top, but the Ferrari is very good in the mid range.

“Both engines are better than the Cosworth,” he is quoted by Speed Week, “although in qualifying trim it was very strong.

“Unfortunately it (the Cosworth) was not so good with full tanks,” added Hulkenberg.

F1’s other engine supplier is Renault, who may have yet another customer for 2014.

Team boss Franz Tost told reporters at Jerez on Tuesday that he is considering swapping Ferrari for the French-made turbo power in 2014.

“We are in negotiations but no contract (is) signed so far,” he said.

Tost said it would be an advantage for Toro Rosso to share an engine supplier with its sister team Red Bull.

“If you are racing with a Renault engine we would have the same gearbox as Red Bull, because this is possible from the regulation side,” he said.

“We will use the synergies that the regulations will allow us to do.”

Mercedes’ new shareholder and director Toto Wolff, meanwhile, said on Tuesday he can imagine F1 getting another engine manufacturer on board for the turbo era.

So far, Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes are committed to the V6 rules, and Wolff is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace: “I think probably we will see a fourth one coming.”

With HRT’s demise, the only Cosworth-powered team left in F1 is Marussia. Boss John Booth admitted on Tuesday that he is in talks with suppliers about 2014.

Source:GMM

Marko eyes Hulkenberg for 2014 Red Bull seat

Mark Webber looks set to struggle to keep his Red Bull race seat beyond 2013.

Granted just a one-year contract for a seventh consecutive season at the team, the 36-year-old Australian is already on notice by Red Bull’s tough Dr Helmut Marko.

Now, Austrian Marko has made clear Red Bull was not happy with Webber’s driving at the 2012 Interlagos finale, when teammate Sebastian Vettel was fighting for the title against Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Indeed, Flavio Briatore – still involved with the management of Webber’s career – said after Brazil: “The only one who helped Ferrari was Webber.”

Marko confirms: “Mark was not optimally cooperative in Brazil.”

Germany’s Sport Bild reports that, while Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne are obvious candidates to succeed Webber, Marko is also keen on Nico Hulkenberg.

German Hulkenberg, 25, has signed just a one-year deal with Sauber for 2013, and has also been linked with a potential 2014 move to Ferrari.

Marko confirmed: “A few years ago he was on the list of candidates for our junior team, but Nico already had a main sponsor (Dekra) with which he didn’t want to separate.”

Source:GMM

Hulkenberg: Inexperience no problem for Sauber

Sauber’s inexperienced driver lineup will not hold the Swiss team back in 2013, Nico Hulkenberg insists.

25-year-old Hulkenberg, who is moving from Force India after returning to F1 this year, will be joined at the Hinwil based team by Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez. Compared to Sauber’s 2012 lineup, Hulkenberg and 21-year-old Gutierrez have 60 grands prix less experience than departing team drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

“No — I am bringing my bag of experience,” said German Hulkenberg, who sat out the 2011 season after debuting for Williams the previous year. “Sure, it’s a new car for me, but every other team will have a new car as well that you have to get used to.

“So I don’t think it’s going to be a severe handicap,” he told Blick newspaper on a visit to Sauber’s Swiss headquarters.

However, with only two seasons under his belt, Hulkenberg finds himself the de-facto ‘team leader’ at Sauber for 2013. He doesn’t really agree.

“I don’t see the difference. It is a fact I have more experience (than Gutierrez) on paper, but I don’t see myself in a different role than in Force India. At the end of the day I’m here to collect as many points as possible. Whether you are team leader or not doesn’t make much difference.”

Hulkenberg said he doesn’t know who is going to replace him at Force India, amid reports Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi are the hot favourites.

“I have no idea, really,” said the German. “I thought it was Sutil, but now the wait is taking so long, maybe logic suggests otherwise. But I have heard nothing. My concentration is here (Sauber) now,” added Hulkenberg.

Amid perceptions he is making a ‘sideways step’ in the midfield, he defends his decision to swap Force India for Sauber.

“Yes, there were some races where Sauber fared poorly,” said Hulkenberg, “but they proved this year that they have a fast car. Often I was overtaken by a Sauber this year and I saw for two or three corners how good the car is before it was gone. Naturally I sometimes wished that I was sitting in it,” he smiled.

It has been rumoured Hulkenberg is being groomed by Ferrari-powered Sauber for a switch to the Maranello based team in 2014. Asked how long he will be a Sauber driver, Hulkenberg laughed: “I don’t know yet. We will see next year.

“The team (Sauber) basically does the contracts for one year only.”

Source:GMM

Hulkenberg leaving door open for 2014

Nico Hulkenberg has left open the door to the 2014 season, intensifying rumours he could be paving a road to Ferrari.

Some have interpreted the German’s move from Force India to Sauber for next year as a sideways step, while others think Hulkenberg is laying down a path to his future with the small Ferrari-powered Swiss team. Indeed, the 25-year-old was linked with Ferrari’s works team before Maranello decided to keep Felipe Massa in 2013, but the Brazilian – like Hulkenberg – has only been signed up for a single season.

“I cannot tell you where I’m going in 2014,” Hulkenberg told Germany’s Auto Bild Motorsport. “Formula One is a fast-moving business. In the long term I want to drive for podiums and race wins and become world champion.

“Which team it will be with is located in the stars,” added Hulkenberg.

Source:GMM