Sauber team admits: We were bad in Monaco

I’m pretty sure Todd and the others have discussed this on one of the podcasts (heck, maybe we discussed a few weeks back), but I don’t think there is any arguing the fact that the Sauber team is the most disappointing of 2010.

(That the race for most disappointing is between Sauber and Williams is doubly troubling.)

From post-race comments, it would sure seem like the Sauber folks would agree with all of our assessment:

Kamui Kobayashi: retired on lap 27 / position 5 / gearbox problem
C29.01 / Ferrari 056
“It is a shame because our race pace was a lot better than our performance in qualifying. I think we again missed a chance to score points. My start was good. The first corner is never easy in Monaco, but it went alright. But then I wasn’t able to shift up anymore. I just looked for a safe place to park the car and that was it.”

Pedro de la Rosa: retired on lap 22 / position 5 / hydraulic problem
C29.03 / Ferrari 056
“Obviously another race I wanted to finish. The car was okay at the beginning. At the start I stayed away from trouble, which was the main target, and then I was taking care of the tyres. We had a split strategy, which I think was good. I was on the softer compound, Kamui on the harder one. I was cruising behind Vitaly Petrov and waiting for my chance to push. But I was alarmed when I had a problem with the quick shift, and when the power steering became heavier and heavier it was clear I had a problem with the hydraulic system.”

James Key, Technical Director:
“A disappointing end to a tough weekend, and one we wouldn’t want to repeat. It was frustrating in many ways because our drivers were being held up in the race, and there was more to come from the car. We felt that a strategic call could help us to overtake some cars ahead. We split the strategies of our cars to take advantage of safety car situations. So we had left our options open for the race, but then we saw on the data that we had a significant increase of hydraulic temperatures on Pedro’s car. Pedro reported that the steering had become particularly heavy. We pitted him and wanted to see what the problem was, but there was clearly a hydraulic pressure problem. We couldn’t diagnose it quickly enough to get him back out again into the race. Just a few laps later there was a gearbox issue on Kamui’s car. He lost a gear and then couldn’t select the next one, which caused him to stop on the track. That problem is currently under investigation. We shall learn what we can from this weekend, but look forward to tracks where we think the car will work better and hope for a much more promising showing in Istanbul.”

I suppose the Sauber showed a bit more form in Valencia, but I’m just not sure that’s enough to convince me Kamui or Pedro will be fighting for points in two weeks.

(And, am I remembering correctly, was it the Sauber pit crew that, after the second car quit was shown on TV basically, en masse, getting up. A real “It’s Miller Time,” moment.)

I’m not sure where we should be pointing fingers. Perhaps it was just too much to ask for a team to rise from BMW’s fairly mis-sorted remains. I do know that at some point, Key’s “newness” to the team won’t be a valid excuse for not getting things turned in the right direction.

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