Monday, 12 December 2011

Team Season Review: Sauber

They started brilliantly but couldn't keep it up, and Sauber finished seventh.
Drivers: Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio Perez, Pedro de la Rosa
Best Finish: 5th (Monaco)
Best Qualifying Result: 8th (Belgium)

Points: 44
Constructor's Championship: 7th

After such a strong start to the season, Sauber's performance went into decline in the second half of the year, only just holding off Toro Rosso for seventh place in the championship. And it started so well: Sauber's Australian Grand Prix was a huge success. A wonderful drive from Sergio Perez in his first race saw him adopt a genius one-stop strategy, when most were doing four stops. Perez came seventh while Kobayashi was eighth, however, both cars were disqualified due to a rear wing irregularity. This was a huge shame after such a great race for them as well. Kobayashi came into his own then though, brilliantly scoring points in every race from Malaysia to Canada, including a very impressive fifth at Monaco. Perez suffered a heavy crash in Monaco qualifying, meaning he had to sit out Monaco and Canada. Pedro de la Rosa stepped in for the Canadian Grand Prix, finishing just outside the points. The success dried up from there on, with Perez's seventh in Britain their best result of the second half of the year. Toro Rosso caught them, but four points in the last three races helped them stay ahead.

Best Finish: 5th (Monaco)
Points: 30
Driver's Championship: 12th

Kobayashi's impressive fifth at Monaco

Kobayashi's impressive 2010 meant that there was a lot of expectation on him going into 2011, and in the first half of the season, he rose to the challenge, with an excellent first half. Australia was a great drive, with a wonderful qualifying lap followed by an eighth placed finish, however Sauber were disqualified, meaning he wasn't classified. Malaysia was another strong showing for the Japanese man, with an eighth placed finish becoming seventh after Lewis Hamilton was handed a time penalty. He was eighth in his next three races, before a career high fifth place at Monaco, which was fourth until Mark Webber passed him late on. By not pitting for intermediates in the extremely wet Canadian Grand Prix, Kobayashi found himself in second place at the Red flag interval. Kobayashi's race was hard from there on though, and he finished seventh, just 0.045 seconds behind Felipe Massa, who passed him on the final straight. Koabyashi was sixteenth in Valencia, before a retirement in Silverstone. He was ninth in a return to the points at Germany, but incredibly he didn'y score points again until Abu Dhabi. Collisions in Belgium and India contributed to this. However, he was in impressive form in Abu Dhabi, passing two HRT's at once, which was on my overtakes of the year, on his way to tenth. His ninth place in Brazil secured Sauber seventh in the championship. So it was a bit disappointing this year for Kobayashi, but he will be very determined to improve in 2012.

Best Finish: 7th (Britain)
Points: 14
Driver's Championship: 16th


Perez drove wonderfully in Australia
Perez's first year in Formula One was very impressive, beating Kobayashi 11-7 in qualifying, in what was a strong season for the young Mexican. It all started with his most impressive drive, fantastically doing a one-stop strategy, as well as passing Felipe Massa on his way to a wonderful seventh place. Despite Sauber's disqualification due to technical irregularities, it was a very very strong drive. Perez retired in Malaysia, before a seventeenth in China after making contact with numerous drivers earnt him a drive-thru'. Perez's first Formula One points came in Spain, with a ninth place. The Mexican was having an excellent qualifying in Monaco, where he was into Q3, but a very heavy crash at the chicane meant he couldn't participate in the race. After taking part in first practice for the Canadian Grand Prix, Perez felt ill and wasn't fully over the crash, and was replaced for the weekend by Pedro de la Rosa. It was a good return though in Valencia, with a strong one-stop strategy almost bringing him points, until he was passed by Nick Heidfeld, a move which featured in the best overtakes of 2011. Perez had a brilliant race at Silverstone, bringing the car home in seventh place. No points in Germany or Hungary were followed with two retirements in Belgium and Italy. In Singapore, despite being hit twice on the same lap, first by Nico Rosberg and then by Michael Schumacher, Perez scored a point with tenth. This signalled a run of form, with a fantastic eighth place in Japan followed by a very mature drive to the final point in India. Those were the final points of an excellent season for Perez, in which he was, in my opinion, the rookie of the year, and shone in the Sauber.

Best Finish: 12th (Canada)
Points: 0
Driver's Championship: 20th


De la Rosa's one race: Canada
 After Sergio Perez's heavy accident in Monaco, and he felt unable to take part in the Canadian race after feeling ill during first practice, Sauber needed a stand-in. De la Rosa had driven for them in 2010, and had returned to his role as McLaren test driver in 2011. However, Sauber offered him the drive for the weekend. Despite a crash in third practice, he had a reasonably good qualifying, getting into Q2 and qualifying seventeenth. De la Rosa did well to stay out of trouble in the first part of the race, and ran as high as ninth before a red flag suspended the Grand Prix. He later finished twelfth after contact shortly after the restart, which required a new front wing. On the weekend of the Brazilian Grand Prix, it was announced he would be driving for HRT in 2012, after signing a two-year deal.

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1 comment:

  1. I t's all gobbledegook to me but I'm sure intelligent people would understand. A very informative blog but a tad biased!:i