Sauber struggles due to 2013 development, not Ferrari engine

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Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has said that the team is not pointing the finger at engine supplier Ferrari for its struggles in 2014, but admitted that there are no positives to be taken from the first half of the season.

The Swiss team has failed to score any points, marking its worst-ever start to a Formula 1 season. Drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez have struggled with the C33 car, but when chances for points came about in Monaco and Hungary, mistakes were made and the opportunity passed.

2014 has been hailed as the year of the power unit, where the quality of the engine is the dominant factor. Ferrari’s unit is known to be down on power compared to that of Mercedes, but Kaltenborn is refusing to blame the Italian marque for Sauber’s struggles.

“It is one of the major factors, but I don’t think it is as easy as saying it is somebody else’s fault,” she explained to Formula1.com. “We always have to look at ourselves first and, being very honest about it, this car is definitely not one of the better cars that we’ve built.

“We have a very long lasting partnership with Ferrari and in all these years we’ve gone through good and not such good times, but you stick together and get through it.

“I am very sure that if I am unhappy and dissatisfied, then my colleagues at Ferrari have double that amount of frustration, so I don’t need to worry about that.”

Kaltenborn admitted in the interview that she could not take any positives out of Sauber’s start to the season, believing that the root of the problems came from the decision to continue development of the C32 in 2013.

“If you look at the performance itself – I think with all the optimism you can imagine, and I have a lot of optimism – I cannot see anything positive,” she conceded. “What I think we have to keep in mind is why we are where we are today.

“That goes back to last season where we took a decision to continue on that year’s car, knowing full well that this would mean taking a considerable risk on the new 2014 car, and the development of that car in light of the massive changes which were coming up.

“We took that decision and it turned out to be the right decision for last season, but we didn’t expect that we would be facing as many issues as we are now.”

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.