Sauber is another of the FIA Formula 1 teams that have made big headway in recent outings, marching up to the sixth spot in the constructors championship and standing just 13 points behind Mercedes for a berth in the top five.
This weekend will see the Sauber-Ferrari squad head to Valencia for a pitched battle on a tricky street course, with the team looking for another chance to continue climbing the standings.
Sergio Perez is currently ninth in the F1 standings while teammate Kamui Kobayashi sits 11th after seven events. Both drivers have helped their chances with good qualifying efforts throughout the year, which is something the team knows it needs this weekend on a course that is tough to pass on.
I don’t have the best memories of my Formula One debut race in Valencia, as it was last year and a very difficult one for me
“Overtaking is not easy on this track, therefore qualifying is of particular importance. The car is basically unchanged since Montreal, however, we might run a higher level of downforce,” said Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Sauber Head of Track Engineering. “Valencia is a street circuit, but not a typical one, because the surface is very smooth, and the curbs are not very high. In addition, the aerodynamic efficiency is significantly more important than, for example, in Monaco or Singapore, and there are proper run-off areas. Most of the corners are slow, but you cannot ignore the level of top speed. As a result of this layout, braking stability and traction are very important.”
Perez has been carrying the load for the Hinwil-based team, with last week’s podium finish in Montreal marking the third time this year that the young Mexican has been part of the post-race celebration. He feels he has some unfinished business with the street circuit as he struggled in his return to the cockpit last year after a hard crash in Monaco.
“I don’t have the best memories of my Formula One debut race in Valencia, as it was last year and a very difficult one for me,” recalled Perez. “I was returning to racing after my heavy shunt in Monaco and, in hindsight, I have to admit I don’t think I was fit enough. I didn’t feel well at all. I like the track in Valencia a lot and also the atmosphere during the race weekend, as we are quite close to the fans.”