Sauber still struggling with low fuel performance on Indian GP Friday practice

The Sauber F1 Team had an interesting start to the weekend of the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit.

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber

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After Sergio Pérez arrived in India feeling unwell, the team followed the doctor’s recommendation and decided to be cautious by giving him a rest on Friday morning and letting reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez drive in the first free practice session.

The 21-year old hadn’t driven the C31 before and the track was also new to him. For the second session Sergio was back at the wheel.

All in all the team managed to get through today’s job list, and the consensus of opinion is the car looks quite good on long runs but less competitive on single fast laps.

Sergio Pérez (Sauber C31-Ferrari - 2nd Practice: 12th / 1:28.174 min, 39 laps): “For me the second free practice was as difficult as expected in terms of finding a good set up for a single lap, but I think we look quite good when it comes to covering the race distance.

Of course I didn’t get the mileage I wanted today because I could not take part in the first free practice session, but, despite this, it was a productive day for the team and we have enough information to make the most out of our chances.”

Kamui Kobayashi: (C31-Ferrari 1st Practice: 13th / 1:29.802 min (18 laps) - 2nd Practice: 16th / 1:28.455 min (40 laps) “I found it difficult today to find any grip. I can’t really say whether this is down to the dust on the circuit, the tyres or the car.

Most probably it is a combination of all those factors and we have to find the best way to improve. This goes especially for when we run low fuel, although I didn’t do that many laps with a lighter car.

I spent a lot of time running on a high fuel load and I think we are doing fine with the heavier car. We have to work now, but also to consider that anyway the grip level of the track will improve.”

Esteban Gutiérrez (Sauber C31-Ferrari 1st Practice: 20th / 1:31.212 min, 29 laps): “It was a great experience to step in for Sergio this morning. For me it was the first time I have been at the wheel of the C31, as I have only done straight line testing so far.

Also I didn’t know the track before, which made it an even more interesting session. I have worked very closely with the team all season, listening to the radio and attending the engineers’ meetings.

Today I really enjoyed seeing from the inside of the cockpit what I had only seen from the outside. It was also very interesting to be part of an official Formula One event for the first time.

It is obviously different to testing and it is challenging to stay focused. I think the circuit here is amazing, especially with the chain of fast corners.

However, my target was to progress during that session and make sure I brought the car home in one piece. Now Sergio will be taking over again but, in case anything should happen, I feel ready to get into the car again.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “Actually today was quite similar to what we experienced at the two recent race weekends, when we were also struggling with our low fuel performance on Friday and were a lot happier with the car’s balance on long runs.

However, despite the driver change, we still managed to complete our entire programme of evaluating the tyre compounds, which are soft and hard this time, and carrying out set up work under varying fuel loads. We now have to maximise our potential for qualifying.”

Source: Sauber F1 Team

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Kamui Kobayashi , Sergio Perez , Esteban Gutierrez
Teams Ferrari , Sauber
Article type Practice report
Tags buddh circuit, india, indian gp, kobayashi, perez, sauber