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April 13th, 2012
Sauber’s sights remain set on consistent points finishes rather than podium finishes despite Sergio Perez’s near-victory in last month’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn admitted that expectations have been raised by that performance, but emphasised that the team must remain realistic.
“We are laying a basis for our target which is to score points at every race weekend and through that significantly improve our position [in the championship],” said Kaltenborn.
“Looking at the result that we had in the last race, it’s normal that you raise your expectations but we are quite prudent about the fact that in Malaysia everything went just right. It would not be right to take that as a benchmark for the coming races, particularly because the gaps are so small so it doesn’t take much and you are suddenly down the grid.
“The Sauber C31 is a fast car and, looking at the last race, is competitive under very different conditions. So it gives us a lot of confidence. We can see that there is a lot of potential, so we need to utilise it.”
Kaltenborn believes that the team can achieve its target of improving qualifying form because its tyre warm-up characteristics are not as troublesome as they were in 2011.
The C31 is easy on its tyres in race conditions, but as a consequence of this struggles to get enough energy into the rubber for optimum grip in qualifying. While this has held Sauber back in qualifying so far this year, the problem is not as severe as it was last year, which gives the team encouragement.
“The major problem we still have is qualifying,” said Kaltenborn. “Last year it was a bigger issue trying to get the tyres to work at the right temperature. It’s not so much of an issue this year.
“We can utilise the potential of this car far more if we have a good starting position, but to have that result everything needs to fit together; your set-up, how you use your tyres, the drivers doing a perfect lap. We need to work on this combination.”