Sauber left China with one badly damaged car and one which had fallen from first to tenth during the race. But the race gave Sauber renewed confidence they are heading in the right direction.
“From a technical point of view, China was a successful weekend for our team,” said head of track engineering Tom McCullough.
“We had taken some measures before that race which proved to be effective. We now have a direction, and we know what has to be done.”
Nico Hulkenberg led the race early on but poor pace on the soft tires and his final set of medium tires saw him fall to the bottom of the points places.
“It was quite a mixed race with mixed emotions,” said Hulkenberg. “It was obviously very nice to be leading again, and to be at the front battling with the top teams.”
“I had a reasonable start and some nice battles in the first couple of laps. I was able to gain some positions, but, somehow, towards the end of the race, we were losing or lacking a little bit of pace.
“Once you are in the lead or second you understandably hope for more. Nevertheless, it might not have been the true picture, as we were racing out of sequence with other people who were starting on soft tires.”
Hulkenberg reached the top ten shootout for the first time this year in qualifying. But rookie team mate Esteban Gutierrez was knocked out in the first round at the beginning of a tough weekend which ended with him receive a five-place grid penalty for crashing into Adrian Sutil.
Three weeks after announcing his retirement from motorsport, Johnny Cecotto Jr. will return to racing this weekend at the GP2 round in Sochi, Russia.
Cecotto said on Twitter that “today my career ends” on September 17, announcing that he had lost his backing provided by the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
However, the GP2 veteran will return to racing this weekend with Trident, having last raced for the Italian team at Monza one month ago. He will partner Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello once again.
Cecotto’s return is just one of a number of driver/team stories heading into the GP2 race weekend at Sochi:
- American driver Alexander Rossi returns to GP2 with Racing Engineering this weekend following his two-race stint in F1 with Manor. He will also take part in grands prix in the USA, Mexico and Brazil before returning to GP2 once again in Abu Dhabi.
- Julian Leal has announced his retirement from GP2, and is replaced by debutant Dean Stoneman at Carlin. Stoneman won at Sochi in GP3 last year en route to second place in the championship.S
- Sean Gelael will race for Carlin once again, having missed the round at Monza due to a Formula Renault 3.5 clash.
- Nicholas Latifi returns to GP2 this weekend with MP Motorsport, racing alongside Rene Binder.
- Nathanael Berthon also returns, racing for Team Lazarus.
- Hilmer Motorsport will miss the round in Sochi altogether, reducing the grid down to 24 cars.
The FIA Formula E Championship will add Hong Kong to its calendar for its third season, 2016-2017.
The race will take place on October 9, 2016 – exactly one year from now – around the city’s Central district. The 2km circuit will run between Lung Wo Road and the Star Ferry, with cars reaching speeds of up to 225kph (140mph).
The launch event today featured the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable CY Leung; Mr. Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; Mr. Alejandro Agag, CEO, Formula E Holdings; Mr. Lawrence Yu Kam-Kee, President of the Hong Kong Automobile Association; and reigining FE champion Nelson Piquet Jr.
“The Hong Kong ePrix will be one of the highlights on the FIA Formula E Championship calendar,” Agag said in a release. “As one of the most innovative, cutting-edge and fun-loving cities in the world, Hong Kong and Formula E share many of the same qualities. We look forward to bringing all the fun and entertainment of Formula E to this amazing city, and international motorsport back to Hong Kong.”
The track map is linked below.