17 October 2013
Sauber: Exhaust changes key factor
Monisha Kaltenborn says that exhaust changes were key to Sauber's improvement on track in the 2013 F1 season
Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn says revisions to the exhaust system on the team's C32 during the middle of the F1 season are the key factor behind the improvements seen in recent races.
The Swiss team had gone into the 2013 campaign hoping to build on an impressive season in 2012 but scored just seven points prior to the summer break.
Despite another no score when racing resumed at Spa, the team has since gone on to pick up 38 points in the last four races, with many putting the improvement down to the revised Pirelli tyres that came in in Hungary and although she said they had helped, Kaltenborn said other factors had played a more important role in the team returning to form.
“After the concept of the side exhaust system was very successful last year, our engineers decided to go with a different concept for the C32, that in theory had even more potential,” she said. “In practice, however, it looked different. We realised that in Melbourne where we brought an update to the car that didn't work as we expected it to. It then took some time for our engineers to understand the problem.
“The aero balance of the car was not stable, especially during braking and turning in. Apart from the measurable implications, the side effect was that the drivers had less confidence in the C32. In addition, we didn't have the resources to quickly modify the car. Instead, this process happened step by step.
“The largest update we brought was in Hungary, where we implemented a modified exhaust concept. We already saw a significant improvement back then, but, of course, it took some time until we were able to get the most out of that. In addition, our understanding of the car improved, which translated to a better set-up. Furthermore, we were able to maintain the high level of quality producing the parts back at the factory.
“The whole team, in the factory and at the track, did an outstanding job.”
Kaltenborn added that the team never considered turning its focus solely towards 2014 at the expense of trying to resolve the issues it had faced with its current car.
“Giving up was never an option, because we wanted to make progress with the current car, in order to improve in the constructors' championship,” she said. “In addition the insight we are getting now will help with the development of the new car.”
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