Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg
has branded his Bahrain Grand Prix
weekend 'difficult' and 'frustrating' and said it is now clear the team 'needs to bring new parts to Barcelona if they are to improve and fight for points'.
Hulkenberg qualified 14th for the fourth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship, but never made much headway in the race. Indeed he eventually brought his Ferrari-powered C32 to the 'flag in a disappointing twelfth place, more than 25 seconds behind Jenson Button, who took tenth and the final championship point.
Given how his old team, Force India, did - with former team-mate, Paul di Resta battling for a podium, before taking fourth - the German could be forgiven for thinking his decision to switch over the off-season wasn't exactly the smartest of moves...
“It was a difficult and frustrating weekend,” said Hulkenberg. “It was clear from the beginning that we were not fast enough. We are lacking speed and eat up the rear tyres too much so it simply wasn't enough this weekend.
“We pitted a bit too late, because we expected to have more problems on low fuel, which in the end we didn't have. That cost us at least one position. [But] this weekend clearly showed we need to bring some new parts to Barcelona in order to improve our speed and fight for points.”
Sauber team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn has admitted the team need to provide Hulkenberg with a faster car if he is get in the mix.
“We can't be satisfied with this race. We knew this track would be difficult for our car, but this cannot be an excuse. Nico drove a good race, [and] so it is now our job to provide him with a quicker car,” she confirmed.
“Nico's race went as planned, but we were just not quick enough to score points,” added Tom McCullough, Sauber's head of track engineering. “We have to have a good look at our data now, regroup and prepare for Barcelona [in three weeks time].”
Team-mate and 2013 F1 rookie Esteban Gutierrez meanwhile also had a dismal race, and he had to pit following the first lap after damaging his front wing. He finished 18th.
“I expected a difficult race [given I had to start last after my five place penalty] and this is what I got,” said the Mexican. “On the first lap I had contact down into turn 10, which was really hard to avoid. Apart from that, things were quite okay, but, of course, finishing a race like this is definitely not enough and we need to improve. We need to find more speed. We will have to analyse the strategy and hopefully we will bring some good updates to Barcelona.”