Can Sauber continue its progress at Silverstone?

Some additional aero upgrades have the Sauber Formula 1 team feeling optimistic heading into the British Grand Prix this week. I think.

“After the recent upgrade had a positive influence on the car’s race performance in Valencia, the team hopes for more progress in Silverstone,” the team says in its British GP preview.

I’m not sure I read the same optimism from the drivers and technical director James Key:

Pedro de la Rosa:
“We are all going to a new Silverstone and have to be open minded. The changes to the track look very nice and I expect its character, with plenty of medium and high speed corners, has remained unchanged, and this should suit our car more than the Valencia circuit did. I’m very much looking forward to the British Grand Prix.”

Kamui Kobayashi:
“I have a very good feeling for the race in Silverstone. I like this track a lot and I’m looking forward to seeing the new parts. The high speed corners make it one of my favourite circuits. Also there is always a good crowd, and I think this time with their fellow countrymen leading the championship they will be very excited. I like going to England, and London is a great city anyway.”

Technical Director James Key:
“It’s a nice feeling to go back to Silverstone. It’s a circuit I know well, and I’ve always enjoyed being at the track. There’s an excellent turnout from the fans as well, so it’s got a real atmosphere about it. It’s obviously different this year, as several of the old corners we know have gone. However, it will be new for everyone. I’m looking forward to see how the new section affects the track. It was never a circuit that was easy to overtake on. It could be that the new section has some influence on that, but we won’t know until we get there. We’ve been working on what we think we need to do for the new layout.”

“We will have a busy Friday to try and cover all the options to find out what is best for the modified track. What’s important there is high speed and medium speed stability of the car. The first sector, particularly, is dominated by these kinds of corners. It’s important that the car is competitive through Copse and then the winding section afterwards. There’s only really two or three places where braking is of high importance. It’s not a high braking energy circuit, so braking stability is less of an issue to consider, but we have to see how the new section affects that. I think we also have to keep an eye on the aerodynamic efficiency with the longer straights, so there is a bit to learn but also a lot which is familiar. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Is it just me, or are their comments not exactly of the “we’re coming to bring the fight to the GP” type? Kobayashi’s race at Valencia — even if it was at least partly a result of incredible luck with tire strategy — has to give the team some encouragement, right? Maybe they are trying to keep the enthusiasm in check.

Anyone think we should be building expectations for Sauber this weekend? I’d love to see it (as long as it isn’t at the expense of Force India, of course).

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