Kaltenborn keeps 2013 expectations to herself
2 February 2013
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn declared the launch of the new C32-Ferrari at Hinwil, Switzerland to be "a very special moment" for her, and said that she was "very excited" to finally be able to show off all the team's work to the public and media on Saturday.
"Everyone in the team is excited about this moment, because everyone has played their part in it," she said. "It's something you've been working towards for almost a year and then you get your first impressions of how good a job you've done."
But as delighted as she seemed by the occasion, Kaltenborn is all too aware that the new car is still something of an unknown quantity at this stage, and for that reason and others she was cagey about setting any hard and fast expectations on how the team expected to perform in 2013.
"This is another of those questions one is asked every year, and it's always a tricky one to answer," she said when asked. "What I can say is that we're well prepared, that we've got the new car finished in good time and that we've met the performance targets we set ourselves internally.
"The aim is very clear and simple: we want to continue to improve ourselves," she continued. "The key factor for this is the car so the Sauber C32 is based on its predecessor, which was a very competitive car. It had a lot of strengths and a few weaknesses and the engineers focused on building further on these strengths and eliminating the weaknesses.
"That puts us in a confident frame of mind, but we'll only really find out what it all amounts to at the first race of the season in Melbourne," she added. "I'm confident that the entire team has done a very good job."
Confident or not, Kaltenborn remained especially resistent to setting a target position in the championship standings that the team has to meet at the end of the season. Last year Sauber scored four podiums and finished sixth in the constructors' championship, just 16 points behind Mercedes, but Kaltenborn wouldn't confirm that fifth or better was the unequivocal do-or-die objective in 2013.
"We're not saying we want to finish in this or that position in the standings, as ultimately other factors will also come into play that are outside our control," she pointed out. "What we can be clear about, however, is that we want to continue on our upward curve.”
For Kaltenborn it's the first time that she's been in charge as team principal for a car launch, and she admitted that the reality did introduce a heightened sense of responsibility on her going into the 2013 season.
"On the one hand, not that much has changed for me since I took on the role, because I was already involved in a lot of things beforehand - like the Team Principal meetings, which I've been attending for some time already, she pointed out.
"On the other hand, it is still something special because now all the responsibility rests on my shoulders," she conceded. "And that creates a certain extra pressure, of course."
And the pressure really starts on Tuesday, when Sauber's new drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez join the other F1 drivers at the Circuit de Jerez in Span and all the teams see how well their individual new 2013-model cars perform out on the track in comparison with one another.
That's when the pressure will really be on all around, as Kaltenborn is only too well aware.