Sauber duo Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi insist that the team's F1 season will start in Australia after the disappointment suffered in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The pair failed to finish at Sakhir after running into separate hydraulic issues, although the pace of the C29 to that point proved to be something of a disappointment as neither driver was able to repeat the impressive performance shown during pre-season testing.
Spaniard de la Rosa will be competing in Australia for the first time since 2002 and the former McLaren tester insisted that the team had to forget Bahrain and focus on the weekend ahead.
“I'm very much looking forward to this Grand Prix,” he said. “I really want out performance in Bahrain to be forgotten. My last race in Australia was in 2002, although in 2005, I drove the Friday practice. This means I will have some memories of the circuit but it will be like learning a new one for me.
“I believe we will be more competitive in Melbourne. Reliability was never an issue in testing and it was very unlucky that we retired both cars in Bahrain and with two different reasons as well.”
Team-mate Kobayashi – who has spent time in the Toyota simulator ahead of the weekend to try and help learn the Albert Park circuit – agreed that the team 'has to be' more competitive than in Bahrain, while technical director Willy Rampf insisted that the team has a lot of work to do in Melbourne after the difficult start to the campaign.
"After our disappointing performance in Bahrain we have to make up for a lot in Australia,” he said. “We have analysed the data and drawn conclusions accordingly. I expect us to be significantly more competitive in Melbourne. The failures were caused by hydraulic leaks in both cases, but for different reasons. For both problems we will have solutions ready for the race.”