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.”

Gutierrez: Teams will adapt to new tyres

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber’s new race driver, has given a less dramatic assessment of the tyre situation heading into the 2013 season.

Last season dubbed ‘the tyre whisperer’, Mexican Perez has subsequently switched to McLaren, where last week at Barcelona he said the degradation of Pirelli’s new compounds is “extreme”.

Back at Sauber, however, fellow Mexican Gutierrez is less panicked.

“The tyre (situation) is obviously more dramatic than last year,” he is quoted by Spain’s Marca newspaper, “but gradually the teams will adapt. It’s a matter of finding the right fit. In testing we have already seen progress,” the 21-year-old added.

Even Perez’s teammate Jenson Button is not overly worried.

“This year is more difficult in terms of graining,” he is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace, “but it’s much easier now to understand the tyre. You put it in your window of operation and know that it will begin to grain from the third or fourth lap.

“Last year,” Button continued, “there were teams who could make the tyre work, but they didn’t know why. For the others it was a knife edge.”

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery, meanwhile, is adamant the cool weather in Barcelona – “freezing” last Friday according to Mark Webber – made the degradation of the 2013 tyres look much worse.

“We shouldn’t see anything like it (the Barcelona weather) in the whole season,” he is quoted by Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo.

And some, like the famously phlegmatic Kimi Raikkonen, are not worried at all.

Asked to compare the 2012 Pirellis with this year’s compounds, the Finn told Turun Sanomat newspaper in Russia on Saturday: “I don’t see much difference.”

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

Sauber: Small sidepods good enough for Malaysian heat

Sauber’s ultra-slim sidepods work well, team co-owner, founder and former boss Peter Sauber has revealed.

The Swiss team stunned its opposition when it launched the new Ferrari-powered C32, featuring the smallest sidepods seen in modern times in formula one.

The innovation, whilst providing an obvious aerodynamic benefit, raised questions about whether the tight packaging could house radiators good enough for adequate cooling.

“We had not the slightest problem with the cooling system,” Sauber, referring to the car’s impressive and reliable debut at Jerez, told Switzerland’s Motorsport Aktuell.

Jerez, however, was notably cool, raising the question of whether the cooling system will be good enough for much hotter locations.

“The values were good enough that we can extrapolate for temperatures up to 35 degrees,” said Sauber. “The bottom line is that the cooling will work just fine in Malaysia.”

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

Kaltenborn excuses Frijns for Sauber criticism

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has hinted that new reserve driver Robin Frijns will get a Friday practice outing this season.

Earlier this week, 21-year-old reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion and Dutchman Frijns complained that he will “not have much to do” in 2013. He had told Dutch magazine Formule1 that he is not required by his new Swiss employer for the forthcoming winter test period, and it “looks unlikely I will be used during the Friday practice sessions”.

“And Sauber has no simulator so I can’t gain experience in that way,” added Frijns.

Kaltenborn reacted to Frijn’s comments by excusing his implied criticism.

“Robin is still young,” she told the Swiss newspaper Blick, “so we should not place his every word on golden scales.

“He said what he said, but he is also irritated because he has not yet found a place in GP2 for this season. The development (programmes) for the young drivers is a real problem,” Kaltenborn continued. “The best thing for each team would be to give every reserve driver at least one go on a Friday (practice session).”

Source:GMM

Frijns disappointed with 2013 Sauber programme

Robin Frijns has admitted he is disappointed with his schedule for 2013.

The new Formula Renault 3.5 champion, 21-year-old Frijns was signed up for this year by the Swiss team Sauber, replacing 2012 reserve Esteban Gutierrez.

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said late last year: “We will now carefully guide him to Formula One.”

But the Dutch magazine Formule1 reports that Frijns was disappointed ten days ago when Sauber called to inform the young Dutchman that his services will not be required for the forthcoming winter test period.

“I think this year I will not have much to do,” he is quoted as saying. “On January 30 I am going to the factory and I hope I will get more clarity,” added Frijns.

“It’s not only the winter tests I will not be doing, it also looks unlikely I will be used during the Friday practice sessions,” he lamented.

Frijns continued: “And Sauber has no simulator so I can’t gain experience in that way.”

Moreover, Frijns revealed he had “heard nothing” from Mercedes following his DTM test late last year.

“I have few other possibilities,” he said. “I fear it is going to be a difficult year.”

A Sauber spokesman commented: “Robin will get the opportunity to be present at the technical meetings, to engage with the engineers, and participate in our fitness programmes.

“It will provide a good basis for the future.”

Source:GMM

Perez: Sauber is capable of winning races in 2013

Sauber will reveal its 2013 car, the C32, in the days before it makes its track debut at the start of winter testing.

Team founder Peter Sauber had already announced that the new Ferrari-powered single seater will run for the first time at Jerez on February 5. The Swiss team on Thursday invited the media to an official launch event at its Hinwil headquarters, on 2 February.

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber’s new driver replacing Sergio Perez, has already had his seat fitted. The German’s teammate will be the Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez.

McLaren-bound Perez, who finished on the podium three times in 2012, is quoted by Swiss magazine Speed Week: “Sauber will be strong again, I am firmly convinced. The rules are fairly stable, the team has understood its car well, so why should they be worse than 2012?

“I even think there could be races they are capable of winning.”

Perez continued: “Sauber has done a lot for me, so I want them to do well more than any other team — with the exception of McLaren of course!”

In other pre-season testing news, Reuters correspondent Alan Baldwin wrote on Twitter that he believes Mercedes has booked the Jerez circuit for filming on the day before the first official test begins.

“Wonder who will be first in the car,” said Baldwin, contemplating Mercedes’ 2013 lineup of Lewis Hamilton alongside Nico Rosberg.

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

Sauber confirms Gutierrez for 2013 season

Sauber have confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg’s teammate for 2013 will be Esteban Gutierrez, who will replace Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi.

“This has not been an easy decision for us to take,” team boss Monisha Kaltenborn explained, “but we have committed ourselves to a new beginning.”

21-year-old Mexican Gutierrez, who is backed by Sauber’s major sponsor Telmex, also succeeds the similarly Telmex-sponsored Sergio Perez, who has been signed by McLaren.

“We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season,” said team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.

Replacing Gutierrez as Sauber’s reserve driver is the impressive Dutchman Robin Frijns, who like Gutierrez is 21.

Referring to Frijns, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 series this year as a rookie, Kaltenborn said: “We will now carefully guide him to Formula One.”

Source:GMM