Sauber can be "very competitive" with low-fuel fix

The Sauber C37 Formula 1 car can be "very competitive" once the team addresses its low-fuel weakness, driver Charles Leclerc believes.

Sauber can be "very competitive" with low-fuel fix
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Charles Leclerc, Sauber on the grid on the grid
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37 Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37 Ferrari
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37 Ferrari, Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37

Leclerc's breakout sixth-place finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix took the Swiss outfit to 10 points from the first four races, its 2018 tally already bigger than that its points totals from three of the four previous seasons.

The team's qualifying form, however, has been more subdued, with Baku marking the first time this season that a Sauber made it out of the first qualifying segment.

Leclerc's Azerbaijan GP result was aided by attrition, but the Monegasque has highlighted the opening stint - in which he maintained top-10 pace and even kept the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at bay for a number of laps - as evidence of the C37's race pace prowess.

"As I was saying before the race, our race pace is stronger than our qualifying pace at the moment," Leclerc explained.

"Now we really need to investigate that and to make our low-fuel pace better.

"But if we manage to do that, we should be very competitive - because our race pace at the beginning of the race was really great. Then at the end with low fuel we struggled a bit more."

Marcus Ericsson, who had recorded the team's other points-scoring finish of 2018 in China by finishing ninth from 17th on the grid, reckoned that Sauber is struggling with the softer compounds that it has to run in qualifying.

"It’s still clear we are struggling more over one lap than race pace," Ericsson said. "Charles did a very good job in qualifying [in Baku] but still I think we are stronger in the race.

"We are really struggling with the softer compounds, I have a feeling that for some reason we haven’t really found a way to optimise them yet."

The Swede added that making the C37 more competitive over one lap should now be top of Sauber's to-do list.

"For me that’s the main priority now going forward, that we manage to find an extra bit of performance on Saturdays, because I really feel on Sundays we have a good car to fight the midfield.

"Charles’ pace today was really strong compared to the cars around him and if we have a good track position for the race, starting in the mix, we can have strong races.

"You need a good starting position. We need to take a step."

Additional reporting by Scott Mitchell

shares
comments
The winners and losers of F1 2018 so far

Previous article

The winners and losers of F1 2018 so far

Next article

Williams queries stewards calls and Alonso recovery

Williams queries stewards calls and Alonso recovery
Load comments
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash Prime

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021