Brazilian GP: Sauber preview

Team Sauber Petronas completed its first three-day season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona last week. Heinz-Harald Frentzen has run the first two days while Nick Heidfeld took over the driving on the final day. They covered altogether...

Team Sauber Petronas completed its first three-day season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona last week. Heinz-Harald Frentzen has run the first two days while Nick Heidfeld took over the driving on the final day. They covered altogether 239 laps with best times of 1:18.735 (Heinz-Harald Frentzen) and 1:19.812 (Nick Heidfeld).

The main focus of the programme was working on tyre data and testing improvements of aerodynamic parts. Already at the race weekend in Sepang the tyre choice for Brazil was made. However it was crucial to undertake a final check with regard to achieved lap times and wear. The test crew further concentrated on Bridgestone data for the Barcelona race at the beginning of May.

While the Sauber Petronas race team was in Malaysia the engineers back home were making further aerodynamic tests in the wind tunnel. Based on the data gathered new parts were developed which are meant to bring improvements in the aerodynamic set-ups in Brazil already.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Interlagos poses an interesting set of challenges. There is a special combination of two lengthy straights and the infield complex which places different demands on car set-up. The straights obviously require low downforce to minimise drag, whereas on the infield you want high downforce to generate maximum grip, so there is a definite compromise to be struck."

"You also need to do your homework on the mechanical set-up, with the springs and rollbars, to find the most suitable means of dealing with the circuit's numerous bumps. This year it will be even more difficult to achieve this compromise because of the reduced time in practice and qualifying."

"Normally you would need very different set-ups for qualifying and for the race. For qualifying you needed high downforce, but for the race you would tend to go for high straightline speed so the drivers had a chance of overtaking. Now you have to run in the race the way that you qualified, so I think we could see an interesting grid."

Nick Heidfeld (52 GPs, 1 point 2003):

"Interlagos is a good circuit. It's quite bumpy and it's a tough race because the track runs anti-clockwise whereas our neck muscles tend to be conditioned to clockwise circuits, and there are some long corners. It's challenging, especially Turn Six which is quite quick and quite blind."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (143 GPs, 3 points 2003):

"I've always liked Interlagos. It's a very challenging circuit and you have to work hard to get the car set-up just right. It's a hard race because of the nature of the circuit, but it flows well and it is very enjoyable to drive on. I'm looking forward to scoring more points."

Visit of Casa do Menor - home for underprivileged children

Just before Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen will start their engines in Interlagos they are going to visit a home for underprivileged children right at the gates of Sao Paulo on Wednesday, April 2, in the afternoon. The Casa do Menor "Alegria e Esperanga" (Home for Minors "Joy and Hope") is an aid project for neglected and uncared children. It is based on an initiative of nuns of the in Italy located Dominican order "Sanmssimo Sacramento". After a guide through the institution Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen will play games with the children and make them forget their difficult pasts at least for a few hours.

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nick Heidfeld
Teams Sauber