Sauber says Brazil points not key to safe 2017

Sauber's head of track engineering Xevi Pujolar says the Swiss squad would have been fine next season even without the points scored by Felipe Nasr in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Nasr gave Sauber its first points of the year when he finished ninth in the Interlagos race on Sunday.

The two points meant the Hinwil-based squad moved ahead of Manor in the constructors' championship with one race remaining.

Finishing in 10th place in the standings would be a big financial boost for Sauber, which would secure a multi-million dollar bonus after a year of struggling financially.

But with new owners having taken over the team earlier this year, Pujolar insists Sauber's future was already safe.

"With or without the points it would have been okay for the team for next year," said Pujolar. "Obviously it's an extra, so I think Monisha [Kaltenborn, team boss] should be very happy."

Pujolar, who joined Sauber in August, reckons there is much more to come from the team now its finances are sorted.

"There's been some development on the car and on the way we operate," he said of Sauber's recent progress. "We've tried to change things based on our experience in other teams. I think there is still much more to come.

"It's good to see we are making progress already, but there are lot of things that still need time to put everything in place. 2017 needs to be a big step for us and I think we can do it."

The Spanish engineer admitted the Brazilian race was a tense event for the team given the weather conditions and the fact that Nasr's teammate Marcus Ericsson had crashed out early.

"The race was quite stressful and it was difficult to judge between extreme weather and inters conditions and what the weather would do," Pujolar added. "Since the beginning of the race at one point when we could see that the inter was going faster it was quite difficult to know what to do.

"When we lost one car it was even harder for us to just compete against, especially for us we just focused on Manor. We couldn't afford another mistake, otherwise it was game over.

"The last 10-15 laps were quite hard, because you could see people like Alonso coming much faster, but with Ocon and Kvyat making a bit of a barrier that helped us."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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