May 4, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
Simply finishing a race may not seem like much of an achievement in Formula 1, but after three straight retirements, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil is focusing on doing exactly that at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The Swiss team has made a poor start to the season, scoring zero points and has rarely looked capable of a top ten finish. Both Sutil and teammate Esteban Gutierrez will be already feeling the pressure given that Sergey Sirotkin, Simona de Silvestro and Giedo van der Garde have all been testing in recent weeks with aims of a full-time seat. However, the German driver remains focused on his own performances at the start of the European season.
“We will be travelling to Barcelona with some car updates, which I hope will help us to improve our performance,” Sutil explained. “Obviously, I expect more than in the last races. After three retirements in a row, we need to finish this race.
“I am looking forward, and I think that our performance will be stronger than in the previous races.”
Like all of the other teams, Sauber will be bringing its first major upgrade package to the race on the outskirts of Barcelona, and having reduced the weight of the car, it should be easier to work with for both the drivers and the engineers.
The circuit is a mix of fast straights and more technical sections, meaning that a well-balanced setup is key to doing well in Spain.
“The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a nice track with high aerodynamic demands on the car,” Sutil said. “We have to find a compromise in terms of the car’s aerodynamic set-up and, with one setting the first and second sectors will be good, but the last sector will be a disadvantage, or vice versa.”
Sutil has recorded a top ten finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya just once before, and unless Sauber has a particularly significant upgrade package in store, perhaps just finishing the race is the best that he can expect.