Felipe Nasr says difficulties driving his Sauber chassis has been behind him enduring a dismal start to the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship season, saying the issues are a 'big question mark'
The second-year driver has endured a tough start to the year, being comfortably out-performed by team-mate Marcus Ericsson and has a best finish of 14th position or the opening three races.
Quizzed on why he endured such a disappointing start to the year twelve months on from his remarkable top five debut with the Swiss team in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, Nasr feels his chassis has a fundamental problem that Sauber is yet to identify, saying it bears little resemblance to the C35 he trialled in testing which is being raced by Ericsson.
“Since the Barcelona test we have identified that me especially, I haven't been satisfied the way the car has been behaving in Australia and Bahrain. We've been seeing there is quite a difference on the behaving of the car. Going back to the Barcelona test I felt pretty happy with how the car was handling there.
“This was the only chassis we had then, which was used with Marcus for the races. Since I've been driving the chassis that was built for Australia I've been having these difficulties of handling, difficulties finding a balance with the car. It's been very tricky. It's been hampering my performance as well. We as a team are taking all actions to try to discover that [the reasons].
Admitting it is demotivating to know the car isn't performing properly, he feels the C35 has good potential but he is no closer to determining how to unlock it.
“As a driver all I can say is it's very difficult to face a qualifying or a whole race when you have all these difficulties with the handling of the car. I've been doing everything I can to bring the car home with the best performance possible with the difficulties I've been having. We're trying hard to see what we can find.
“My job is to drive no matter what the situation is,” he continued. “Everyone involved is giving everything they can to put the team in the best position possible. The things we cannot control we cannot get involved in. We're here to drive. I love what I do. Every time I'm on track I'm giving everything I can. Of course there's a question mark, let's say, on the back of the team about what's going to happen.”