Sauber Petronas Australian Grand Prix Preview, 7 - 9 March 2003 Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "The Australian Grand Prix will present a number of new factors for us to assimilate. What we know for certain is that the Albert Park circuit...
Sauber Petronas Australian Grand Prix Preview, 7 - 9 March 2003
Willy Rampf (Technical Director):
"The Australian Grand Prix will present a number of new factors for us to assimilate. What we know for certain is that the Albert Park circuit has always suited our cars. The corners are a variety of slow and medium speed, placing a premium on good turn-in and traction and requiring a high level of downforce. It is notoriously hard on brakes, and the usual high ambient temperature can cause problems if you haven't done your cooling homework properly. We also know that the Sauber Petronas C22 is a better car than the C21 and that it has been very reliable in winter testing. But what we won't know until qualifying on Friday is just how quick we are in comparison with everyone else, because that will be the first time that all of the cars run with similar fuel loads."
"The story will not be so clear-cut in qualifying on Saturday, however, because people will be running different fuel loads dependent on their race strategy. Australian is usually a one-stop race, but now we have to reconsider the situation, as qualifying has effectively become part of the race under the new regulations. That will make strategy even more important. It's going to make the start of the season unpredictable."
Nick Heidfeld (50 GPs):
"Testing has shown us that the Sauber Petronas C22 is very reliable, but also nicer to drive and faster than the C21. Our testing has gone well, though we cannot really be sure of where we are until we all get together with everyone else in the same track conditions and with similar set-ups. There have been so many regulation changes that it's hard to know what to expect, but traditionally this is a race where reliability counts, so I think we are in very good shape."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (141 GPs):
"Things will have changed a lot because of the new regulations. For me it will be an excellent first Grand Prix of the year, with everything being so different - the practice and qualifying procedures and the other regulations. I hope experience will count, especially with the single-lap qualifying sessions, but with the different fuel loads people will run in qualifying we won't really know what set-ups they ran until the race is over! The C22 is a faster car than the C21, more consistent and driveable, and we are very pleased with the high reliability, so we go to Australia in an optimistic mood."