16 May 2015
Nasr: I’m still driving the same car as in Australia!
F1 rookie Felipe Nasr admits that, without the same sort of development as its rivals, Sauber could find it difficult to return to the points in coming races.
Felipe Nasr continues to hold down a place in F1's championship top ten, but admits that that may change in the next few weeks.
Despite claiming to have been happy with his personal performance in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, the Sauber driver revealed that, unlike a lot of its rivals, the Swiss team has not gone all-in on updates to the original C34 to mark the start of the European campaign, and he fears that will make points more difficult to come by as the season progresses.
“I'm happy with the job I did on track, but I'm not satisfied with P12,” Nasr noted, “I want to get back into the points but, I think, as we expected, that was the maximum the car could have done and I did everything to capitalise on that.
“That's what we have in our hands now. Our main competitors all made some good steps ahead on the car, on updates, and we are very limited on the package that we have now. I'm driving the same car I drove in Australia – that's the truth!”
While the next couple of races may still hold some consolation for both Nasr and team-mate Marcus Ericsson – who this week returned Sauber to the sort of unrealistically high position on the testing timesheets it frequently occupied in pre-season – beyond Canada, the Brazilian thinks things will only get tougher.
“Going to Monaco, it is a track with a lot of lower speed corners and that could be a bit better for our side,” he conceded, “I'm not creating a lot of expectation, but it might be better than the Barcelona result. Maybe Montreal will as well, given the long straights and lower speed corners play to our advantage.
“Our main limitation is the downforce – we don't have enough downforce on the car. We were losing, to Toro Rosso, as much as 23km/h in turn three. A lot of time was being lost in sectors one and two in Barcelona, but it was not too bad following a Red Bull in sector three, so our car is quite strong in slow speed corners but we are missing so much time in the high or medium speed corners.”
Nasr opened the season with an unexpected fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix, but has made only one other top ten appearance in five outings, with twelfth places surrounding eighth in China. Despite that, he continues to occupy ninth in the overall standings, six points clear of fellow rookie Carlos Sainz and retains some optimism for the future.
“I think, by halfway through the year, there will be some updates coming – some big updates from halfway to the end of the year,” he revealed, “But, in the meantime, I am sure we will have some difficult races.”
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