Having revealed that there more than a few shortcomings with the latest Sauber after his first two races with the Swiss team, Nico Hulkenberg is confident that the C32 can be improved over the coming weeks.
The German failed to even start on his Sauber debut after a fuel system fault was detected shortly before the Australian Grand Prix, but managed to claim four points second time around in Malaysia, despite telling the team over the radio that he had a long list of things which could be improved. Now, with the benefit of a three-week break between races, he is hoping that some of those items will have been addressed as the Hinwil outfit brings a new rear wing and reworked floor, amongst other upgrades, to Shanghai.
“Both the team and I weren't very happy with the recent performance of the car,” he confirmed on the eve of action at the Chinese Grand Prix, “We know we have to improve and we understand the issue.... We've identified it, but fixing it is now the challenge and it's up to us.
“We have some new parts here, some developments, which hopefully are going to put us in the right direction. We still have work in front of us, for sure, but, in the three weeks, we have made some progress.”
Having worked alongside Paul di Resta in 2012, Hulkenberg also finds himself with a rookie team-mate at Sauber, but insists that that is not a drawback as he seeks to improve the C32.
“In every team, every driver looks and works for himself,” he explained, “Both drivers obviously work for the team, but having Esteban there is not a big penalty or big deal. I don't think it compromises my performance or the team's performance to be honest.”
Hulkenberg's off-season move to Sauber from Force India still has F1 insiders scratching their heads, particularly as the Silverstone-based team appears to have the upper hand early in 2013, but the driver insists that there are positives, over and above the perception that it is a holding station for a potential Ferrari ride in future.
“I can speak my mother language a lot!” Hulkenberg joked, “It's a new situation. You're missing quite a few words sometimes, you know, technical words in English but, otherwise, the teams all work in a very similar way.”