Sauber F1 Team’s disastrous start to the 2014 Formula 1 season hit a new low today during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, as Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil were both knocked out in Q1.
The Swiss team has failed to score any points so far this season, and has rarely looked capable of doing so. Neither Gutierrez nor Sutil have been overly impressive, or looked to make the best of a bad situation, and today in Monaco they were unceremoniously dumped out during qualifying at the first time of asking.
Both drivers found themselves in the drop zone after Daniil Kvyat moved up into 16th place with his belated timed lap following a spin, yet they only needed to find one-tenth of a second. However, when Felipe Massa and Marcus Ericsson came together at Mirabeau with one minute left on the clock in Q1, it stopped the cars behind from improving their times thanks to the yellow flags.
As a result, both Gutierrez and Sutil finished one-tenth of a second behind Kvyat, and dropped out in Q1.
Although Sauber has been struggling so far this season, it has rarely looked so hapless as it did today. Barring a race of attrition, it is hard to see the Swiss team from finishing in the top ten any time soon.
In fact, Gutierrez and Sutil might have to keep an eye on the drivers behind them. Marussia’s Jules Bianchi finished six-tenths of a second down on Sutil in P19, but he told NBCSN after qualifying that he was confident he could stick with Saubers during the race tomorrow.
This result will only increase the pressure on both Gutierrez and Sutil, whose seats are already under threat for 2015. Sergey Sirotkin, Giedo van der Garde and Simona de Silvestro all have thrown their hat into the ring for a place with Sauber, and going on recent form, there’s a strong argument for completely replacing the driver line-up.