Sauber admits C24 needs speed

Team boss Peter Sauber has admitted that his team still has plenty of work to do on improving the pace of its new C24, despite some impressive performances in early testing of the new car

Sauber admits C24 needs speed

Brazilian Felipe Massa was the fastest runner in a 2005 car during testing at Valencia in Spain last week, even outpacing Jenson Button's new BAR007, but that was not enough to satisfy Sauber, who is looking for his team to put in its most competitive season ever in F1.

"On the one hand we were quite happy with the reliability," said Sauber, looking back at the test. "But on the other hand we have to find speed."

Speaking about why he had such feelings about his car, despite the pace shown by Massa, Sauber admitted that he was simply being realistic about the problems of making definitive judgements from testing laps.

"That was one single lap and everyone knows how fast Felipe is," he said, referring to Massa's benchmark time. "But we have to face the fact that BAR-Honda right now is better and faster. We lack the experience BAR has with the Michelin tyres.

"Tests are themselves thrillers. You never know when you leave the track if you have been a victor or a victim."

The only thing Sauber is certain about with regards to 2005 is that he has the strongest line-up that he believes he could have got hold of - with Massa and Jacques Villeneuve set to push each other to the limit.

"Felipe has proven in the last part of the 2004 world championship how much he has learned," said Sauber. "He was almost as consistently fast as Giancarlo Fisichella, whom I rate among the top five in that area. Jacques will have to make both ends meet to match that, but knowing how ambitious he is, I am not worried."

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