Sauber F1 team facing "critical" races

Sauber faces a 'critical' few weeks that will have a big impact on its long-term potential in Formula 1, reckons its driver Felipe Nasr.

After some frustrating times in recent races, Sauber will benefit from a Ferrari engine upgrade at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

Then, next month, the team will introduce a major aerodynamic update that it hopes will give it a good performance boost.

Concept shift

Nasr is under no illusions about the need for the new parts to deliver, especially as the team hopes to use its Singapore concept as the basis of its 2016 challenger.

Reflecting on the summer shutdown and the forthcoming races, Nasr told Motorsport.com: "I think it was an important break, not only for the team but also for me to understand the first half of the championship.

"This moment that we were going through was expected by Sauber. It was a difficult time, but we have development planned for the second half of the season.

"We have an engine update from Ferrari coming to Spa. And we also have an update of our aero package for Singapore, looking towards the 2016 season.

"This race [in Singapore] will be critical to understand better the data that the car will give us, as it will apply to the concept for 2016.

"I've learned that our car operates in a very small working range. So we have many areas to improve. We know that the car has a major limitation, so the importance grows of having a good interpretation of the Singapore race."

China setback

After impressing with a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Nasr has endured some more difficult times since.

However, he thinks the team's chances of delivering more was hampered when a new front wing idea tried out in China did not work.

"I think we had a break in our development when we put a whole new wing on in China," he said.

"It did not work and it suspended many things in our programme. The data wasn't quite equal to what we saw on track, so we suspended [work on it] and moved all our focus to Singapore."

Performance boost

Nasr still thinks, however, that Sauber's campaign has gone better than he expected, although accepts there is the need to improve now.

"At the moment I signed with Sauber, I thought we would have one or two points in the season, to be honest," he explained.

"If you compare to the beginning of the season, we were ahead of teams like McLaren, Force India, Lotus, Toro Rosso, and today things have been reversed.

"On average, we are the ninth team of the year, which shows how much the other teams have developed in such a short space of time.

"The arrival of Mark Smith as technical director is already aimed at improving those areas that we were limited."

Interview by Felipe Motta

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Felipe Nasr
Teams Sauber
Article type Breaking news