Sauber's technical director James Key has said the team were back to where they wanted to be during the race in India and that it is important for them to keep this up at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, venue for the penultimate race of the F1 2011 season.
Sauber were left disappointed after qualifying at the most recent round of the championship at the all-new Buddh International Circuit. The team's drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi only posted the 17th and 18th fastest times respectively, meaning that before numerous penalties were handed out they were only quicker than the 'new teams' that traditionally occupy the back of the grid.
“We're coming off the back of a difficult qualifying in India, where we just couldn't get the tyres to work. We think Abu Dhabi will be better for this, but nevertheless we looked into this in detail and we will go with some fresh ideas to make sure we've got everything covered if tyres are the problem,” said Key of the team's quest for qualifying improvement.
However, there were still good signs for the team, who are in need of a boost as they battle with Force India and Toro Rosso for sixth in the Constructors' Championship.
“In the race in India we got back to where we should be competition wise, and we clearly also need to be at that level in qualifying in Abu Dhabi,” Key continued.
Sauber have struggled to keep pace with their rivals in the latter half of the season and confirmed that there will be no updates to the car in Abu Dhabi. This does not mean that the team are going to stop looking for improvement with the equipment they have though, as Key explains: “The car will be the same specification we had in India. We have, however, several new approaches to some of the mechanical set-ups.”
Key also spoke of the unique challenge that the track gives the engineers in terms of car set-up.
“The track itself has got three very distinct sectors. The first one is a short sector with medium to high speed corners. The second is dominated by a couple of chicanes and two long straights, so there low drag and efficiency are important. The third sector requires high downforce for the slow to medium speed corners.
“Therefore getting the downforce level right and balancing it for this track is an important part of Friday's work,” he concluded.
by Philip Barclay