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Sauber: Pérez surprised us in Australia

Sergio Pérez and Kamui Kobayashi 'deserved to keep the points' that they were subsequently stripped of in Melbourne, asserts Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn - admitting that the former's tyre-management Down Under 'surprised' the team
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn has revealed that F1 2011 rookie Sergio Pérez surprised even his own team with his ability to complete the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne a fortnight ago on only two sets of Pirelli tyres – asserting that he and team-mate Kamui Kobayashi 'deserved to keep the points' of which they were subsequently deprived.

Pérez – who had not so much as even sat in an F1 car prior to last November's Abu Dhabi young driver test – stunned observers Down Under, not only by taking the chequered flag a superb sixth on his grand prix debut, but also by doing so as the sole driver in the field to complete the race having made just a single pit-stop. It was, admits Kaltenborn, quite staggering.

“We also were very surprised by his driving, to be honest,” confessed the sport's first-ever female MD, after the young Mexican conceded that the Ferrari-powered C30's pace in Australia was 'a very positive surprise for us' [see separate story – click here], “but it is too early to say how his driving style is – that was just the first race, and we still have the entire season to go. He definitely can handle tyres in such a condition, we could see that, but it is just too early to make a final call on that.”

What's more, the young Mexican outperformed highly-rated team-mate Kamui Kobayashi on his F1 bow around the streets of Albert Park, with the pair crossing the finish line respectively sixth and seventh – but both were later excluded from the results over a rear wing discrepancy, costing Sauber ten points that Kaltenborn acknowledges 'could be' significant indeed in terms of prize money come season's end.

“Of course, the weekend was a very disappointing one for the team,” she reflected. “If you look at the performance, I think the team did an excellent job. The drivers produced a great performance – especially with Sergio having that one-stop strategy – and they deserved to keep the points. With all that, if you are penalised in such a way, it just feels very, very harsh.

“We were by a few millimetres not in conformity with the technical regulation concerned, so we just had to make sure that the radius fitted into the FIA template. It wasn't really much to do – we focussed on what we had to do to get it sorted out, which wasn't a big issue as such. We evaluated the whole process, we reinforced it, we added a few measures. We do have a procedure which worked and proved to be right but, of course, with people mistakes can happen and it should have been caught.

“All it was, was a minor error. It was an annoying mistake as it cost us ten points, but we looked at our entire legality check procedure to make sure that this doesn't happen again. Ten points is quite a lot for us – but we are still confident that we can manage to make that up.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
08.04.2011- Friday, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team C30
08.04.2011- Friday Practice 1, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team C30
09.04.2011- Saturday Practice, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team C30
31.01.2011 Valencia, Spain,  Monisha Kaltenborn (AUT), Managing director Sauber F1 Team, Sergio Pérez (MEX), Sauber F1 Team, Peter Sauber (SUI), Sauber F1 Team, Team Principal, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP), Sauber F1 Team, James Key (GBR),  Technical Director, Sauber F1 Team - Sauber F1 Team C30 Launch - Formula 1 World Championship
09.04.2011- Saturday Practice, Monisha Kaltenborn (AUT) Sauber Managing Director
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Sergio Perez (MEX), Sauber F1 Team C30
10.03.2011- Sergio Perez (MEX), Sauber F1 Team C30
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Sergio Perez (MEX), Sauber F1 Team C30
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Singapore Grand Prix
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36

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Garry Spittle - Unregistered

April 09, 2011 12:40 PM

Very unlucky for Sauber, the FIA never seem to let anyone off with a warning though. Good news is they showed respectable pace with the new car and they should have some entertaining races ahead this season. Good luck to them!

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