Tag Archives: Sauber

17th February: Testing results- Vettel leads

Yet another wet day of testing at Jerez, as Sebastian Vettel gets his Red Bull RB6 to the top pf the timesheets today.

Unlike the other days, today was mostly made up of heavy showers and persistent dampness, meaning no properly fast laps could be set. The best time to be out on track was in the early afternoon, where Vettel set his lap of 1.22.593.

The day started out quite damp, with the cars lapping cautiously around the 1.30 mark. Minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton caused the first red flag of the day, stopping out on track. Then, only 4 minutes after the green flags came out, Paul di Resta spun his Force India, and stopped the session again. The track was empty while the removal trucks got rid of the VJM03.

Paul di Resta after spinning out on track

Paul di Resta after spinning out on track

When the session resumed, the track was still damp. Massa’s lap of 1.30.327 was the fastest at around 9:00. Air and track temperature was around 13 degrees at this point. Light rain fell soon, and we were still waiting for most of the cars to come out for the first time at around 9:30. Fairuz Fauzy took out the Lotus for its first laps, running a very heavy fuel load, and lapped in a 1.39, 7 tenths slower than Hamilton’s best so far. Let me say that I’m impressed with the Lotus team so far. They have achieved far more today than Virgin did all last week.

Fairuz Fauzy in the Lotus

Fairuz Fauzy in the Lotus

Vitaly Petrov made Renault’s first appearance of the day at 10:00, but the rain suddenly increased, forcing him back into the pits immidiately. Although the sun came out quickly enough, the track was still wet. During a 6-lap run, Pedro de la Rosa set the fastest lap of 1.27.8at 11:00. The final car to leave the pits for the first time was the Virgin of Timo Glock, at 11:00, when the track was beginning to dry out. However, he only did one installation lap before pitting again. Track conditions soon improved, with a dry line starting to appear and track temperature around 23 degrees.

Rubens Barrichello brought out the third red flag, stopping out on track after he ran out of fuel. This seems to be a new tactic for many teams: run the car until it runs out of fuel, so as to get better fuel usage telemetry. However, the constant red flags are very infuriating for the others. By 12:00, lap times were falling fast, with Hamilton in the 1.24 zone after a 21-lap run, and Massa in the 1.23’s after a 5-lap run. Then, Felipe runs out of fuel (tactical), and brings out the fourth red flag.

When the green flag came out again, Sebastien Buemi was instantly on the pace, setting a 1.24.810 as his fastest lap so far. He was improving on his lap times every lap, so it was more good form for him and the team. Sebastian Vettel made a 24-lap stint work well for him, only 0.017 off Massa’s time. The German then set three fastest laps in a row at 13:00, his fastest lap being 1.22.593. This was the fastest lap of the day. Michael Schumacher finished a 24-lap run, but failed to set any fast laps, and his best got him into sixth place.

Timo Glock finally got out of the pits, but the rain started falling just then, and he pits once again. He manages an installation lap minutes later, but pits straight after. Fairuz Fauzy then went out in the Lotus, but without power steering, and Mike Gascoyne explains this is becasue of a supplier issue. He still set a lap time of 1:37.494, after 18 laps, in the wet conditions. The other drivers were inable to get near Vettel’s lap time, because of the wet conditions. Rubens Barrichello stopped out on the back straight, at 15:45. The session resumed with 12 minutes to go, and the usual scramble for fastest laps started. Times were improving, with most times in the 1.23’s and 1.24’s, but nobody beat Vettel’s time.

Wet conditions in the afternoon

Wet conditions in the afternoon

So Vettel was top, followed by Hamilton, Massa, Buemi, de la Rosa, Schumacher, Sutil, Di Resta, Petrov, Barrichello, Fauzy and Glock. Timo only managed 10 laps across the entire day. On the other hand, Lotus fared much better, with Fauzy managing 76 laps, but mostly in the wet, so he was 9.2 seconds off the fastest lap.

Times from today:

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.22.593 99
2. L. Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1.23.017 +0.424 72
3. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.23.204 +0.674 72
4. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1.23.322 +0.729 79
5. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.23.367 +0.774 76
6. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.23.803 +1.210 111
7. A. Sutil Force India VJM03 1.24.272 +1.679 28
8.9.

10.

11.

12.

P. di Resta

V. Petrov

R. Barrichello

F. Fauzy

T. Glock

Force India

Renault

Williams

Lotus

Virgin

VJM03

R30

FW32

T127

VR-01

1.25.088

1.26.237

1.27.320

1.31.848

1.32.417

+2.495

+3.644

+4.727

+9.255

+9.824

74

55

109

76

10

Pictures from the test:

10th February: Testing results

Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets today, in a rain-soaked session.

The Mercedes driver clocked in a fastest lap of 1:20.927, which was set in the morning, before the rain came out. Timo Glock was the only driver who was completely caught out by this, and could only set 5 laps, at a point where the track was at its wettest. His time was a 1:38.734.

Sebastien Buemi was second fastest (1:21.031), followed by Nico Hulkenberg for Williams (1:22.243). The other drivers, in order, were Fernando Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi, Jenson Button, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Vitaly Petrov, Mark Webber, and Glock.

Mark Webber was the first to bring out the red flags, when he stopped out on track half an hour after the session had started at 9 in the morning. It was described as a “simple component failure”, which later turned out to be an oil leak. However, the fault meant that the engine had to be changed, which stopped him running until 4.45 pm. Then, he only got 3 laps after that, when Rosberg stopped out on track, bringing out the red falgs and ending the session.

Nico Rosberg attributed his fastest lap to a better seating position in the car:

“The car felt very good today,” he said. “Compared to Valencia where I was sitting too low which affected my visibility and the set-up wasn’t perfect, today I felt really comfortable and I could push so it was an enjoyable day and a good start to the test for me.”

The times are as follows:

Driver Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.20.927 57
2. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1.21.031 +0.104 84
3. N. Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1.22.243 +1.136 118
4. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1.22.895 +1.968 88
5. K. Kobayashi BMW Sauber C25 1.23.287 +2.360 55
6. J. Button McLaren MP4-25 1.24.947 +4.020 68
7. V. Liuzzi Force India VJM03 1.24.968 +4.041 71
8.

9.

10.

V. Petrov

M. Webber

T. Glock

Renault

Red Bull

Virgin

R30

RB6

VR-01

1.25.440

1.26.502

1.38.734

+4.513

+5.575

+17.807

27

50

5

Pictures from the test:

Santander sponsors De la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa (middle right), at a Santander event

Pedro de la Rosa (middle right), at a Santander event

On one of my posts yesterday, I said that Pedro de la Rosa, the new Sauber driver, had backing from Universita, which is a network of 11,000 universities in 15 countries. This, in turn, is sponsored by bank Santander.

So, Santander have today announced – surprise surprise – that they are to sponsor Pedro de la Rosa.

Santander is already an established bank in  Spain, and is now targeting the British market. They are the company behind Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.

“Pedro is a friend and a very intelligent person who impressed us very much in our three years together,” said Santander’s Juan Manuel Cendoya, referring to de la Rosa’s former association with the Woking team as test driver. “We are going to support him personally but we are not going to be at Sauber with any of our brands.”

Fisichella may be Sauber driver for 2010

Giancarlo Fisichella at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Giancarlo Fisichella at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Giancarlo Fisichella is reportedly on his way to getting a race seat with the Sauber team for this year.

The Italian, who is currently Ferrari’s test driver, flew up to the team’s base in Hinwil, Switzerland. He had already driven for the team before, in 2004, alongside Felipe Massa.

The 37-year-old now looks likely to be joining Kamui Kobayashi for the 2010 season. The team which was previously owned by BMW will be running with Ferrari engines in 2010, and the Italian team has already admitted that it will not prevent Fisichella from joining another team should he wish to do so.

The 2009 F1 Review- Williams, BMW Sauber and Toyota

Toyota locked out the front row in Bahrain but still failed to get their first win

Toyota locked out the front row in Bahrain but still failed to get their first win

Here is the second part of my review of all the 2009 F1 teams, and looking forward to the 2010 season. This article is for Williams, BMW Sauber and Toyota.

At the start of the season, Williams were one of the 3 teams to have incorparated a double-decker diffuser into their car, which gave a big advantage compared to the others. However, Williams didn’t capitalise on this, even at the start, and it resulted in a 7th place out of 10 finish, with 34.5 points. Every single one of these points, just like Renault, came from the first driver: Nico Rosberg in this case. His team-mate, Kazuki Nakajima, was unlucky at times, and probably did deserve a few points. However, he would have still been completely crushed by his team-mate over the last 2 seasons. The main fault of the car appeared to be the Toyota engine, which lacked the power to keep up. Williams have since annouced they are to use Cosworth engines for next season. However, it is still to be seen whether Cosworth can supply a competitive engine, having not supplied engines in F1 since 2006.

A general lack of pace, rather than unreliability or driver crashes, cost Williams dearly this year. The FW31 had no strong points in any sector to make it as good as it should have been. Nevertheless, Nico Rosberg managed 8 points finishes in a row, an excellent achievement. He fully deserves his driver role in Mercedes next year. Nakajima, let’s be honest,  was never going to be retained for 2010. The team have announced Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg as their drivers for next year. Barrichello brings 17 years of technical experience, wisdom, and awfully bad luck. He appears to have replaced Mark Webber as F1’s unluckiest driver. Nico Hulkenberg is a very talented driver making his debut in F1 next year. He is the GP2 champion, and formerly won the F3 Euroseries and A1GP. I rate him  very highly as probably the most talented newcomer for next year, so keep an eye on him. So, with 2 very good drivers, it’s all down to the car.

BMW Sauber went into the 2009 season expecting Robert Kubica to be contending for the championship. The poor car put a quick stop to that. Nick Heidfeld had more points finishes, but a second place in Brazil meant Kubica beat him in the drivers standings. Both of them tried as hard as they could, in a car that was designed for the KERS system, which they never got right. BMW decided to discontinue their KERS, while Ferrari and McLaren kept theirs and eventually won races. If BMW Sauber had stayed on, it might have been possible for them as well.

After Hungary, BMW Sauber announced they were to leave F1 at the end of the year. To me, it seems a very poor idea, since it was only one bad year that they had. However, the board did not want to continue funding the team, and attempted to sell the team to a consortium called Qadbak. This eventually failed (see my article “Why Qadbak Failed” for this). Peter Sauber then  took over, buying an 80% stake in the team. No drivers have yet been confirmed for 2010, but Nick Heidfeld is a probability.

After 8 winless years and massive money spent, Toyota finally gave up and left F1 at the end of 2009.  The main reasons were because of the massive amounts of money spent, and the lack of wins. The team could have won in Bahrain, but a bad tyre decision cost them dearly. The drivers, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli, performed well, scoring 5 podiums between them. This was not enough, as the car’s performance varies massively from track to track. In Bahrain, they qualified 1st and 2nd. Whereas in Monaco, they were right at the back. Performance deteriorated over the season, and the incorporated double-decker diffuser couldn’t give them an advantage any more, when the rest of the teams adopted their own.

Obviously, Toyota are gone, so the drivers have gone off to different teams. Timo Glock snubbed Renault to sign for Virgin, while Jarno Trulli teams up with Heikki Kovalainen at Lotus.  Hopefully, over the next few years, we can see Glock take his first victory, and the notorious “Trulli train” might not be so much of a problem.

Kobayashi confirmed at Sauber for 2010

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi has been confirmed at the Sauber team for 2010.

Kobayashi made his F1 debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix this year, substituting for Timo Glock. He put in two excellent drives in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, which was enough to convince Sauber to give him a try.

He said: “Ever since the start of my career I have dreamed of racing in Formula One. Now this dream has come true. I am very happy that my two races in 2009 have earned me a cockpit place. I will do my very best for Peter Sauber’s team and I am proud to be able to carry on flying the Japanese flag in Formula One.”

Peter Sauber said:  “I’m very much looking forward to working together with Kamui. In the final two Grand Prix of last season he was granted an unexpected chance to show his skills, and he made impressive use of it. Particularly in the Abu Dhabi race he demonstrated not only that he can drive fast and aggressively, but also his ability to successfully implement a strategy. I am convinced he has a great deal of potential and will be able to make the most of it in our team.”

BMW to sell F1 team back to Sauber

Peter Sauber

BMW have announced on friday that they have reached an agreement with Peter Sauber regarding the sale of the BMW Sauber F1 team. However, the sale is subject to the team being granted a slot for the 2010 season. This means that the planned sale to Qadbak Investment Ltd. will not be completed.

As part of the agreement, personnel will be cut from 388 to 250 employees. Also, because of the restructuring of the team, further redundancies cannot be ruled out in the future.

BMW had previously bought the team from Sauber in 2005, who had founded the team in 1993.

“I am very relieved that we have found this solution,” said Peter Sauber. “It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams. Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful.”

Dr Klaus Draeger, member of the board of management of BMW AG with responsibility for development, added: “We are very happy with this solution. This fulfils the most important requirement for a successful future for the team. Our relationship with Peter Sauber has always been excellent and marked by absolute respect. We would like to express our thanks to Peter Sauber and the whole team for the excellent cooperation during the recent four years.”

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