Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says the team will have “a very extensive package” of updates at the first Bahrain test.
With the first test at Jerez taking place earlier than in previous years, Sauber ran a provisional aerodynamic package in order to ensure the car was ready on time. Having gathered data in Spain, Sauber will now be looking to introduce an aero update in Bahrain and Kaltenborn says the car will be very different in two weeks' time.
“Fundamentally it's a very extensive package,” Kaltenborn told the Sauber website. “We plan to have most of the parts on the car for the first test in Bahrain. This includes new front and rear wings, side pod deflectors, as well as several other small elements on the car. A few other parts will follow for the second test in Bahrain.”
Reflecting on the progress made at the first test, Kaltenborn said the team had been encouraged by the early performance of the C33.
“We wanted to see if the mechanics and all the systems are working. The cars are very complex this year because of the new power unit, but, as a matter of fact, we have reached a good level already. Of course, it was also important to gather a lot of data. We have a lot of work to do, analysing the data and implementing the improvements.”
However, one area the team did hit issues was with the new brake-by-wire braking system.
“Not only the drivers, also the engineers were not happy about it. This was a software issue in the first place. We were able to make improvements throughout the test, but there is still room for improvement. However, our engineers are convinced that they have enough time to solve those weaknesses together with our engine partner by the next test.”
With Sauber running a Ferrari engine, Kaltenborn said it was too soon to analyse where the new power unit sits in terms of performance compared to Mercedes and Renault. With two more tests to run and the engines still able to be updated, Kaltenborn is expecting competitiveness to change up until the first race.
“It is very difficult to judge at this stage. The only thing you can place in an order is the number of laps the teams did with the respective engines. Here the order is clear: Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault. But to compare the performance is impossible at the moment, also because some might still be playing their cards close to their chests. I am sure there will be movement right up to the first race in Melbourne in that regard. At the moment this is just a snapshot. It will remain exciting!”