They may still be rooted at the wrong end of their respective world championship tables, but Adrian Sutil and Sauber are hoping that they can take momentum from the Canadian Grand Prix and unleash it this weekend in Austria.
The 2014 season has proven to be fruitless for Sauber through seven rounds but, as the schedule heads back to Europe, stopping off just over the border form Sutil's homeland for the first Austrian GP since 2003, the German is hopeful of an upturn in fortunes.
“I am looking forward to the Austrian Grand Prix,” Sutil confirmed, “It was good to finish the race and to get the maximum out of the car [in Canada], where the team did a great job with the strategy and pit-stops. I hope we can build on this and make steps forward in every area. I am keeping up my motivation, and I am looking forward to the weekend in Spielberg.”
Like many of his rivals, Sutil has not driven an F1 car at the rechristened Red Bull Ring, but carries prior knowledge of the venue from his junior racing days.
“I know the track from previous series in my career, and I really like it,” he enthused, “At that time, I was participating in Formula Ford and F3 but, obviously, I hope for a positive result there.”
Unlike Sutil, team-mate Esteban Gutiérrez didn't get the chance to race in Austria early in his career, and the Mexican will be coming into the weekend blind save for the usual time spent in the simulator.
“It is always interesting to have new tracks on the F1 race calendar,” he admitted, “Last year, there were quite a few tracks on which I drove for the first time and now, with Spielberg, there is another new one. It is a fast circuit, so I am going to enjoy it.”
Although it has drawn comparisons with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Red Bull Ring has its own persona, with a relatively short lap that the leading cars should comfortably cover in less than 70 seconds.
“The race is back on the calendar after eleven years, so it will be interesting to set-up the modern F1 cars for this track,” head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall'Ara noted, “The starting point of our preparatory simulation work was driving lines from back then but, of course, quite some progress was also made on that side, and, with the level of detail we can get today, we will most probably just have to do some fine tuning during free practice.
“The track in Spielberg is a relatively short one, consisting of significant straights with medium speed corners and a hairpin, and we've been informed that the tarmac is moderately abrasive. We don't expect very hot ambient temperatures and, based on this information, we rate Pirelli's choice of soft and supersoft as appropriate.”
Sauber currently lies tenth amongst the eleven F1 teams contesting the constructors' series, sandwiched between Marussia – which scored surprise points in Monaco – and Caterham.