Sergio Perez has urged Sauber to keep pushing hard to try and build on its impressive performance in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Mexican driver secured a fine second place finish at Sepang and could have taken victory had he not made a mistake while chasing Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.
Perez will aim to try and replicate that result as the season goes on, but ahead of the third round of the season in China next weekend, he admitted the team had to work hard to try and repeat its Sepang success.
“We all have to keep our heads down and work hard,” he said. “Our car can be competitive and we have to make the most of it. Last year initially I had a good race in Shanghai, but then I had contact with some other cars towards the end of the Grand Prix and was penalised.
“The high speed corners of the track should suit our car. I especially like turn one - it is a long and pretty difficult bend. The long straight will not be the easiest part for us, but, again, we have to maximise our potential.”
Head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall'Ara admitted that the Shanghai circuit would be one of the more demanding used this season but said he was confident that Sauber would again be competitive.
“The Shanghai International Circuit is a very demanding track,” he said. “Its peculiarities are several sections with a combination of braking and lateral forces as well as traction and lateral forces. This puts some demands on the car with regards to braking stability and overall balance. The straights are also quite relevant for lap times, especially the very long one where you need speed in qualifying as well as for overtaking in the race. We are being allocated the soft and the medium tyre compounds. Normally the durability is not an issue but, as the track is not often used, there can be graining and high wear levels at the beginning of the weekend.
“We had some difficulties with tyre degradation in hot conditions in Malaysia, however, this should be less of an issue in Shanghai, because the tarmac is smooth and overall there are fewer high speed corners with high lateral forces. What can be a challenge is the weather. In April there is always quite a high possibility of rain, which is not as dramatic as in Malaysia, but still is something we have to bear in mind when planning the weekend. The car will have some minor modifications compared to the one we ran in Malaysia. I'm confident we can be very competitive in the race.”