Of the four teams yet to score a point through two Grands Prix in 2014, Lotus and Sauber are perhaps the two biggest surprises (Caterham and Marussia, not so much).
Sauber has had two nondescript runs thus far and their Sunday in Malaysia featured a double retirement. Esteban Gutierrez suffered a gearbox issue on a pit stop; Adrian Sutil had a power loss.
“After quite a long stint, I made a pitstop and couldn’t engage first gear,” said Gutierrez. “I tried it many times, but it didn’t work, so there was not much I could do. In the end we made a step forward this weekend. Obviously it was not a good race, but we have to keep positive. We must solve our issues so we are consistent and reliable at the track and have no technical problems. We still have a long season ahead and I am confident we can improve.”
Added Sutil of his afternoon, “In my last lap I lost power and then suddenly the car switched off. I don’t know what happened, so we need to analyse it. It is a shame. Many things don’t work well at the moment, so we need to learn from that.”
Head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara admitted the team has a ways to go.
“We will investigate both problems in order to solve them before the next race in Bahrain. Overall, our performance in the race wasn’t where we expected it to be, so we have some homework to do,” he said.
Additionally Monday, Sauber has confirmed official reserve driver Giedo van der Garde will take Gutierrez’s seat in FP1 at Bahrain, with test driver Sergey Sirotkin set to run on Day 1 of the next Bahrain test to accumulate the necessary mileage to gather his superlicense. Van der Garde will do Day 2 there.
Although she’ll have several days in the car this year beyond her simulation and training work, Sauber hasn’t said yet when new affiliated driver Simona de Silvestro would have an opportunity behind the wheel.