Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, Yas Marina, 2017

Sauber solved mystery handling problem in last two races – Wehrlein

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Pascal Wehrlein says Sauber has got to the bottom of a handling problem which has plagued him in the last two races.

Wehrlein said he was unhappy with his car’s balance for several races after the summer break but the last two rounds have been more positive.

Start, Yas Marina, 2017
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures
“This was a strong race,” he told Ziggosport. “Brazil was also strong but a bit strange when we boxed in the first lap and stayed on the tyres until the end of the race.”

“But since Brazil I’m feeling very happy and comfortable in the car again. Before that we had some issues on the car. We had to change many parts and it took a bit of time to find what was the reason.”

“We still don’t know until today what happened because the car is behaving very different now than for a few races after the summer break. That is a bit of a shame but that’s how it is. We have to learn from that.”

“At least the team found it before the end of the season. And now I’m happy about the performance, especially today was good.”

Wehrlein started the last race of the season not knowing whether he will have a car to drive next season. Ferrari junior drivers Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi have been linked with potential moves to Sauber.

“There’s nothing I can do any more,” Wehrlein said. “I have to hope and pray for a good decision for me personally. Let’s wait and see.”

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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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22 comments on “Sauber solved mystery handling problem in last two races – Wehrlein”

  1. I expected the Sauber matchup to be the least competitive between two team mates this year. Somehow, it looks to be the most competitive behind Force India. Wehrlein simply should have destroyed Ericsson, not just edged somewhat ahead of him.

    1. Wherlein isn’t a bad driver he had good results in some races. And he was a bit ahead of Ocon who is very close to Perez. Of course that the races alongside Wherlein was the first ones of Ocon in F1, but it’s not like Wherlein had a lot more experience than him. I see both of them at almost the same level. Maybe it’s just that Ericsson is a bit underrated.

      1. I think that pace wise, Ericsson and Wehrlein are very close. The average gap in qualifying was really small mid season and that was when Wehrlein was beating him in qualifying much more often. Since Ericsson has beaten him several times since then, I get the feeling that their average times could even be in Ericsson’s favour. But I’m certain they will be close. Pace wise, they are similar in the race too. The main thing is that Ericsson makes a fair few more mistakes. But he certainly isn’t bad and I think he’s under rated. Wehrlein’s best race was probably Spain and they both did equally well in Baku I’d say although Ericsson to me was more deserving of the point. Then Mexico looked very strong for Ericsson as it did in 2016. He was running in 9th and then he had to retire. Extremely unlucky. They both deserve to stay in F1 IMO, but if Sauber had to go for one of them, I think it would have to be Ericsson because of his sponsors and money. But on the whole, I don’t think the difference is big. The fact that Ericsson has pretty often done better shows he’s under rated or Wehrlein is over rated. I think it is more likely to be the 1st.

  2. Ah. Wehrlein, Kvyat and Giovinazzi. Three racing drivers who should be in F1. Personally, I’d say Kvyat-Kubica at Williams and this year’s Sauber lineup stays. What a difference a single team more could make.

    1. It would be great to have more f1 drivers but I can’t agree on Kvyat and Wehrlein. I give Pascal another year but Kvyat has regressed ever since he set foot on the STR, he has no place in f1. Giovinazzi is immediately quick on an f1 car but he’s been crashing too much and LeClerc seems to be as ready as one can be, LeClerc must be in f1 otherwise, we’ll have another Frinjs.

  3. @keithcollantine, the title isn’t fully accurate is it? The mistery is still there. They solved the problem but don’t know why.

    1. Ahaha. Sauber Classic. They signed drivers but don’t know why.

    2. @me4me But they solved the problem right? Therefore the headline is accurate. Not knowing exactly why the problem existed and what caused it are issues to be discussed in the body copy not the headline. They must have had a record of changes and so could go back one by one and check the data. With the amount of data they produce it shouldn’t be that hard to find. When I was racing, we learned to change just one thing at a time, then test. Very laborious but if you changed 2 or more things together, you’d never know what caused an improvement or a backward step. It looks as if this is what happened here.

  4. I do feel sorry for Wehrlein, he is very underrated and the rise of Esteban Ocon has quite badly affected his stock. He has scored points in both 2016 and 2017 in what was in both seasons the significantly slowest car, which is no mean feat. I don’t think there is any denying he is quick, but for some reason it seems like his ship has sailed.

    If I was running Williams I would see him as a safer bet than Kubica. He would be the quick and consistent driver which Williams needs bearing in mind Stroll is in the other car and he would probably bring a Mercedes engine cost discount with him.

    1. @geemac Williams is signed to Stroll. In order for that to happen, Martini would have to leave Williams.
      The only way to vacant some seats is to sack both Haas drivers.

      1. @peartree The Martini deal is up at the end of the year and “the 25 year old driver requirement” isn’t an absolute according to Autosport’s journalists and Joe Saward.

    2. He should have been more dominant I feel, but then again, it isn’t easy when the team’s CEO is on the other side of the garage

    3. @geemac they need the money. Not sure how interested Mercedes is in making a deal with Williams for Pascal’s services. Apparently, there’s a lot of money behind both Kubica and Sirotkin. Also, Robert would be a massive marketing gain I feel as its such an incredible comeback story.

    4. @geemac

      I agree that his points finishes are really undervalued. Sauber has been rubbish in 2017, maybe just marginally better than the Manor of 2016.

      I feel that it’s hard to shine in a car at the back of the grid, and Pascal has done it on a handful of occasions. The only problem for Pascal is that he hasn’t been able to keep consistent form throughout the season. There are days where he’s been terrible, but it hasn’t been highlighted because he’s at the back. There were times he was out qualified by Haryanto (a driver that was never Formula 1 material to begin with). He was matched on many a occasion by Ericsson this season, who is mediocre at best. Ocon jumped in the Manor straight away and was able to start matching Wehrlein.

      He just seems like a bit of an enigma to me. He’s definitely got talent to be in F1, but I don’t think he’s got enough to develop in to anything great. There are plenty of drivers in that category that have been out of F1 in no time, such as Vergne and Alguersari.

      For Sauber, he’s a great option. Let’s hope he stays on for at least another season.

  5. The kid has proven himself to be a genuine talent in the slowest cars on the grid two seasons running now …. deserves a place in F1. Williams is missing out, by not giving this guy a chance IMO.

    1. Williams driver problems runs way deeper than not signing Pascal.

    2. Williams needs the money. That much is clear. Stroll and Kubica are both pay drivers. Wehlein too to some extent, but he’s only bringing an engine discount from Mercedes. Not the millions which Stroll and Kubica bring.

  6. Translation:

    Longbow finance stopped messing with my car after the Ferrari 2018 deal got penned.

    1. Or “I finally had a good race so i wont bash the car this time”

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