Sauber drivers seeking step forward in Malaysia

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Sauber drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil are both ready for the challenge of the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend, and have targeted a big step forward following a disappointing showing in Australia last weekend.

Both Sutil and Gutierrez had rather anonymous races in Melbourne, eventually finishing in 11th and 12th, and a lap down on race winner Nico Rosberg. Having failed to show any kind of pace so far, both drivers are hoping that the heat of Malaysia could see the team take a stride towards the points.

“I am curious to drive the car on this track where the aerodynamics play a huge role,” Sutil explained. “This is important in order to get to know where we stand. If a car is good in Sepang, then it will be fast on other tracks as well. You need everything here – good aerodynamics, grip in the corners and high speed on the straights. The aerodynamic efficiency of the car is a key.

“Generally, my hope is that we improve from race to race. In Malaysia, the main objective is to get better and to make a step forward.”

2013 rookie of the year Gutierrez held no punches when previewing the race, saying: “It is a fact that we are not happy yet with our performance.

“We need to put our heads together, be united as a team and make progress in every little detail we can. We have a great team, and I am confident we can improve.”

Having relied largely on ever-the-nearlyman Nico Hulkenberg for the bulk of its points in 2013, Sauber will be hoping that both Sutil and Gutierrez can meet the challenge this year and help the team to return to the podium after two years away.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”