‘Perez has exceeded expectations’ says Sauber

2011 F1 season

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Sergio Perez, Sauber, Shanghai, 2011

Peter Sauber has heaped praise on new signing Sergio Perez following his first three races for the team.

In a Q&A issued by the team he said: “I had high expectations of Sergio, and I have to say that so far he has actually exceeded these.”

Perez finished seventh in the Australian Grand Prix but was disqualified following a technical infringement.

He picked up two drive-through penalties in his last outing for the team in China.

Here’s the Q&A in full:

How would you assess the first three races from the Sauber F1 Team’s point of view?
Peter Sauber: “This season we wanted to have a car that would be both competitive and reliable from the outset – and we have clearly achieved this initial aim. If it hadn’t been for the oversight with the rear wings in Melbourne, our points total would be excellent; as it is, seven points is still okay. The important thing is that in each race we have been in a position to fight for World Championship points on merit.

“However, the race in Shanghai also showed that the competition is getting tougher. It will therefore now be even more important to continue making improvements. Several teams have announced they will be bringing extensive development packages to the next race in Istanbul, and that could certainly shake up the order once again. We have a larger update scheduled for the race in Barcelona.”

Does this mean your aims for the season have changed?
PS: "No, that’s not the case. It remains our aim to collect points in every race and improve our position in the Constructors’ World Championship."

How happy are you with your rookie driver Sergio Perez?
PS: “We knew that in Sergio we were getting a quick, young driver. Even so, with a rookie you never have a guarantee that he will be able to call on his full potential under the pressure of a race weekend. I had high expectations of Sergio, and I have to say that so far he has actually exceeded these. He not only has the ability to look after his tyres extremely well, but also drives very consistently in the races.

“However, Sergio is also well aware that he is at the beginning of a long learning process, part of which will be incidents like the ones last Sunday in Shanghai. I’m in no doubt that Sergio will maximise his huge potential step by step. The critical factor here is that he feels comfortable within the team and has an environment which helps him to develop as well as possible."

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Sepang, 2011

How has Kamui Kobayashi risen to the challenge of his new role as team leader?
PS: “As a general point, I would like to emphasise that our drivers are given equal treatment. But when a rookie joins the team, the longest-serving of the two drivers – that’s Kamui in this case – takes on a certain leadership role.

“Kamui has developed wonderfully well as a driver over the course of the last year alone, and now he is also carrying out his new role by challenging our engineers and helping them to follow the right development path.

“And, of course, he continues to give us a lot of pleasure with his outstanding overtaking moves out on the track. Another very important factor is that he is a true team player, and that’s something Sergio also benefits from. The two drivers really work very well together.”

What’s your view on the introduction of adjustable rear wings?
PS: “This new element has provoked an enormous amount of debate among the drivers, team principals and fans alike.

“The fact is that these rear wings are working less well for some teams than others, and are therefore causing a few difficulties for some. On our cars they have worked well from the first race and do the job the FIA had in mind for them as an overtaking aid. However, in my view it’s still too early to come to a definitive conclusion.

“I think it would be useful if all those involved could sit down in the summer and evaluate the experiences we’ve had with them.”

How do you rate the tyre situation?
PS:“Pirelli was given a baptism of fire; the requirements it was asked to fulfil were very tough and the amount of time for development extremely short. They were also asked to produce tyres that would wear more rapidly to inject extra excitement into the races.

“After three Grands Prix we should applaud Pirelli for getting to grips with this tricky challenge so impressively. Our car is very easy on the tyres, but this has not come about by chance. Our engineers started working on this issue at a very early stage and have carried out the requisite measures. And now we can enjoy the benefits of this work during races.

“Needless to say, the character of the races has changed markedly as a result of the frequent pit stops, and the fans and TV commentators now have quite a tough job keeping track of how the race is unfolding. The same applies for the team strategists on the pit wall.”

How would you sum up the all-round development of the Sauber F1 Team?
PS: “The situation as a whole for our team already looks a lot healthier than it did 12 months ago.

“2010 was a very difficult year for us. The transformation from a works team back to a private set-up used up a lot of our energy, and at the start of the season in particular, our results on the track were extremely poor. From this position it was also virtually impossible to find sponsors for 2011.

“However, our car is no longer all white and we can be proud of that. Inevitably in a team of our size – where the engineers’ ideas outweigh the resources available to them – additional financial resources are reflected directly in performance. We are therefore continuing our search for sponsors.

“As far as the technical side is concerned, I would like to underline that the Sauber C30-Ferrari is the first car for which James Key has been responsible. It is now a year since he joined us, and he has done a lot of very good things. On the one hand, there are the structural changes he has implemented.

“Equally, the car is meeting the aims he set out for it. With the C29 the main problems concerned drive-ability on uneven circuits and over kerbs, which could not be alleviated by mechanical adjustments to the car set-up.

“The C30 gives us significantly greater flexibility in terms of ride height and also has good aerodynamic efficiency. To sum up, I can say that the overall development of the Sauber F1 Team is progressing positively, but that we have to continue to work very efficiently and with great dedication against a backdrop of limited resources in order to achieve our goals for the season.”

2011 F1 season

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Images © Sauber F1 Team

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “‘Perez has exceeded expectations’ says Sauber”

  1. Last Pope Eye (@)
    21st April 2011, 12:16

    Maybe he is good but it’s too early to say. Let’s wait for few more races..

    1. He is damn good. Kob is a (tiny) star already, and in his first seson Perez matches him. Not only races, but Q and testing too.

      Kob is great, best J. driver i’ve seen. That’s why Perez look as strong. Next to Glock we would not even think about him.

      1. Last Pope Eye (@)
        24th April 2011, 8:21

        Kob is a real star! Great driver.. Can complete with any of them or beat them if he is on RB. No tiny thing please… just because he is an asian. :)

  2. Perez is definately quick and he has shown that. He’s also a tad ragid, he showed that in China. In general I expect to see great performances from him this year, along with the odd race where he is making mistakes and crashing into others.

    1. I think that says it all really. An exiting rookie.

      1. exiting rookie

        So you think hes gonna be leaving the sport soon? :P

        1. LOL, hm changes the meaning of what I was going to say quite a bit! Sometimes typing fast requires reading before confirming.

        2. Last Pope Eye (@)
          21st April 2011, 22:26


    2. One thing is for sure… that Sergio as a lot of potential. We just have to wait and see how soon he matures and adjusts to the sport..

    3. Yes, he can entertain us a lot this year!

  3. Yea i’m gonna go with the consensus of the comments and say he is doing well…so far!

    He doesn’t strike me as being as clumsy as say, Petrov. But consistency is key.

    1. No James Key is “key” :P

      1. Oh noooo…someone HAD to didn’t they?! ;D

      2. Yes, Peter Sauber confirms more or less, that James is Key to Saubers performance improvement this season. Last year it seemed to me as if he left with the Key to the performance of Force India.

  4. Somehow despite the fact that the Sauber cars are the ones more aggressive in terms of overtaking than others, they still manage to go one pit stop less on average than the rest. Amazing fact this is!

    1. I’d say the Sauber “Drivers” not “Cars” are aggresive – sry, couldn’t resist :P

      Anyway, you’re right. Plus Sauber have really entertaining line-up, these two kind of remind me of Berger-Alesi pair.

  5. Sauber are my new favourite team, which makes three of them now. I hope they go far, especially as the two drivers they have are incredibly likeable.

  6. Sauber are a more exciting proposition now than they have ever been. they have a sense of rebirth about them and am hoping they achieve great things this year.

    Really annoyed me that people called Perez a pay driver, conveniently overlooking the fact that he was the GP2 runner-up last year (and I’d say he is better than the title-winner, Maldonado).

    1. It’s impossible to compare Maldonado and Perez right now, seeing as Sauber are looking promising with a fairly quick car that can get into Q3 fairly easily while Williams are regressing, even with an experienced race-winner like Barrichello in the team.

  7. Its great to see Sauber doing well after the BMW fiasco.

  8. perez has good credentials, good backing and an experienced team. We’ll see how he compares with the others in the next few years. But to me di resta seems to be the one with the most potential. But only time will tell.

  9. Sauber, the long term midfield runners are back to be the talent pool for F1/Ferrari they used to be. In their current reincarnation as privateer they will probably never fight for the championship, but it is always good to watch some rookies in those cars.

    Kobayashi and now Perez bring back memories of Raikkonen and Massa. In his own special way, Massa was also very entertaining in his Sauber days…

  10. Also enjoying Sauber so far. Nothing outrageously good, but all signs from the drivers are good so far. Perez looks quick, but I’d like to see Kamui really kick on this year, I’d like to see him hit the top of the sport. Doubt he ever will, but you never know.

  11. I don’t know how but for some reason Peter tends to find raw talent & make their way in F1. Kimi, Massa, Heidfeld now this two.

  12. What can I say?

    Viva Mexico!


    Actually just wait for Esteban Gutierrez…

  13. Really happy that Sauber seems to have all things going as planned this year (well, so far). A bit like FI two years ago really; I hope James Key doesn’t leave them soon :-p

  14. Sergio is a Kimi and Kobayashi is a Nick. No offence to Nick.

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