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Sauber plans Barcelona upgrade

ESPNF1 Staff
April 21, 2011 « 'We learn together' - Rosberg | »
Peter Sauber says Sergio Perez has exceeded his expectations so far this season © Getty Images
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Peter Sauber has said that the team will be looking to improve on its impressive start to the season by updating its car, but don't plan on doing so until the Spanish Grand Prix.

Despite losing out on a double points finish at the season-opening grand prix in Australia, Sauber have scored points in each of the subsequent two races, and Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix was the first time Kamui Kobayashi has failed to qualify in the top 10. The team principal said that he was pleased with the way his team had started the season, but was wary of the improvements made by other teams.

"This season we wanted to have a car that would be both competitive and reliable from the outset - and we have clearly achieved this initial aim," Sauber said. "If it hadn't been for the oversight with the rear wings in Melbourne, our points total would be excellent; as it is, seven points is still okay. The important thing is that in each race we have been in a position to fight for World Championship points on merit.

However, the race in Shanghai also showed that the competition is getting tougher. It will therefore now be even more important to continue making improvements. Several teams have announced they will be bringing extensive development packages to the next race in Istanbul, and that could certainly shake up the order once again. We have a larger update scheduled for the race in Barcelona."

After rookie driver Sergio Perez impressed on debut in Melbourne, his chances to follow up on that performance were scuppered by an early retirement in Malaysia before an error-strewn race in China. Despite this, Sauber says Perez has exceeded his expectations.

"We knew that in Sergio we were getting a quick, young driver. Even so, with a rookie you never have a guarantee that he will be able to call on his full potential under the pressure of a race weekend. I had high expectations of Sergio, and I have to say that so far he has actually exceeded these. He not only has the ability to look after his tyres extremely well, but also drives very consistently in the races.

However, Sergio is also well aware that he is at the beginning of a long learning process, part of which will be incidents like the ones last Sunday in Shanghai. I'm in no doubt that Sergio will maximise his huge potential step by step. The critical factor here is that he feels comfortable within the team and has an environment which helps him to develop as well as possible."

With Perez only stopping once in the opening race of the season, while some drivers stopped three times, it is clear that Sauber's C30 manages its tyres very well. Sauber praised Pirelli for its involvement in creating more exciting races, and said the team had designed a car with the tyres very much in mind.

"Pirelli was given a baptism of fire; the requirements it was asked to fulfil were very tough and the amount of time for development extremely short. They were also asked to produce tyres that would wear more rapidly to inject extra excitement into the races. After three Grands Prix we should applaud Pirelli for getting to grips with this tricky challenge so impressively. Our car is very easy on the tyres, but this has not come about by chance. Our engineers started working on this issue at a very early stage and have carried out the requisite measures. And now we can enjoy the benefits of this work during races."

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