There is still a lot of work left for the engineers.
In the first free practice for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, round four of the 2014 Formula One World Championship, Esteban Gutiérrez lost half of the session due to a clutch problem. Later he was hindered by an ERS issue, which did not cause him to stop but affected his lap times. However, the afternoon went according to plan for both drivers. Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrian Sutil were able to make some progress with the Sauber C33, which enabled them to reduce the gap to their direct competitors. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work left for the engineers. In FP1, for the second time, Sauber F1 Team test and reserve driver Giedo van der Garde was behind the wheel of the Sauber C33.
Giedo van der Garde (car number 36):
1st practice: 14th / 1:42.615 min (16 laps) “It was a good session. It made quite a big difference that I had been in the car for a whole day at the test in Bahrain. I think we did some good work today. The track was quite cold, so it was not easy to get the tyres to work. Other than that, it was positive that we could work on some set-up changes during the session. We also worked on the pedal and brake mapping, so all in all I am happy with the outcome of FP1. It is good to be back in the car again.”
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 21):
1st practice: 18th / 1:44.162 min (17 laps) / 2nd practice: 16th / 1:40.359 min (32 laps)
“The clutch problem was not an ideal start to FP1, but the team did a great job fixing the issue quickly. I was able to get out on the track in the middle of the session, which was quite important. Unfortunately, we had another unexpected problem with the ERS. We did not have the full power and this issue effected the lap times enormously. However, we kept running to get a better feeling for the balance of the car. In the afternoon we were able to do the long runs. Obviously, we are not where we want to be at the moment. We will keep pushing to get things sorted out and try to make another step tomorrow.”
Adrian Sutil (car number 99):
2nd practice: 17th / 1:40.395 min (30 laps)
“I only ran in the second practice session. At the beginning it took a while to get going. The driveability of the car is still not easy. I am struggeling with the tyres to get them to work. There is still a lot of work ahead of us. In comparison to Bahrain, I think we had more straight line top speed, which brings us closer to the teams in front of us. The mid-field is quite tight together. In terms of lap times, we are closer to our direct competitors, but we are obviously not there where we want to be.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“Esteban lost a lot of time in FP1 due to a clutch problem. Once this was fixed he was able to go out, but he was then hindered by an issue with the Energy Recovery System, which cost him good lap times. The afternoon was trouble free for both drivers and enabled us to work on our planned programme. We were able to find some improvements on the C33 which brought us closer to our direct competitors in low fuel conditions. This is positive, but in race conditions we are not yet where we should be. With these settings we are losing speed on the straights. This is something we have to look into.”
Sauber F1 Team