In the first 3 races, Sauber have got 4 retirements and scored no points
If the results from testing were to be carried into the races, then Sauber would be title contenders, thanks to their seemingly fast pace and excellent tyre managment. But, so far, things have not gone well for the Himwil-based team. They have had no points in 3 races, and 4 retirements. Because of this, James Key will take over from Willy Rampf as Technical Director.
Key is not to be underestimated. He has spent 13 years with Force India in their various forms (Jordan, Midland/MF1, Spyker and Force India). In those years, he was a Data Engineer, Race Engineer for Takuma Sato, wind tunnel worker, department head, and then technical director. Though he was one of the youngest Technical Directors in F1, he has proven himself, which is why he has been picked to replace Willy Rampf.
So far, Sauber has had a terrible start, with only one race finish between the two drivers. Many people have wondered why, after starting 2010 development so early last year, they are now struggling at the back. Peter Sauber has explained the difficulties:
We’re experiencing a new beginning as a team and are in the process
of adapting from a works outfit to an independent team. We’ve cut
our budget by 40 per cent and reduced the workforce by a third.
That’s a massive cutback. However, this economisation process is
something all the other established teams still have ahead of them
as a result of the restrictions imposed by FOTA.
With these sort of huge cutbacks, the team have a large hill to climb. But, if anyone can do it, i’m sure Key can. However, he has a lot of work to do. Since he has recently transferred from Force India, (he left there about a month ago) he hasn’t been to a race this year, nor has he even seen the Sauber C29. But, he is already hard at work, having been at the factory, and will be having meetings with Willy Rampf to get him used to the car.
I don’t think any of them are looking at the Chinese GP as a turn-around point. The next race, in Spain, will be much more important, as this is the first race in Europe, and most of the teams will be bringing large updates to their cars here. If Key is to transform Sauber’s season, then the Spanish Grand Prix will be the place.