Teamlogo_SauberF1TeamShell Belgian Grand Prix – Practice – Friday, 23.08.2013

Weather: light rain, then dry, 17-24°C air, 16-34°C track

It was a typical mixed bag of weather conditions during the free practice sessions at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps today. Free practice one saw the Sauber F1 Team facing a wet and then damp track as conditions improved, while the afternoon was sunny. Sauber F1 Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez were quite happy with the car in the morning session. Following the afternoon session, both drivers felt the car could be improved. The team tested some new aero parts and continued the testing programme on the passive DRS system, which is making progress.

Nico Hülkenberg:
Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056)
1st Practice: 8th / 1:56.110 min (11 laps) / 2nd Practice 13th / 1:50.972 min (33 laps)
“It was quite a tricky day with the mixed weather conditions this morning. We couldn’t really get a full run on slicks. Sectors two and three were dry, but sector one was wet. I think there is still room for improvement. We still have some work to do on the set-up, as things can and have to be improved. I wasn’t happy with the balance of the car. The tyres are behaving as usual: the medium compound is definitely quicker over one lap, as it provides more grip, but then we have to find out how long it will last during the race.”

Esteban Gutiérrez:
Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056)
1st Practice: 7th / 1: 55.954 min (18 laps) / 2nd Practice 18th / 1:51.644 min (26 laps)
“In the morning we had some running on a track that was wet and damp. We were able to run some aero tests, but, unfortunately, we didn’t get through the whole programme. The qualifying simulation in the afternoon was not good. I lost part of the diffusor at the beginning of FP2, which impacted on performance. I’m not feeling very comfortable with the car. It’s tricky driving the car on relatively low downforce, and the balance is not quite right. Now we have to analyse the data and see how we can improve that.”

Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“The rain that was forecast prior to FP1 gave us some practice in those conditions, which could well be useful later in the weekend. Both drivers were quite happy with the car this morning. In FP2, neither driver was quite as happy with the balance, so we definitely have some work to do tonight in order to improve that. We tested some new aero parts and continued our test programme with our passive DRS system. Overall this project is making progress and we will decide tonight wheather we will use it for the race on Sunday.”