Sauber Formula 1 team needs to investigate low-fuel weakness

Azerbaijan Grand Prix star performer Charles Leclerc has urged his Sauber Formula 1 team to investigate its 2018 car's relative lack of performance in low-fuel trim

Sauber Formula 1 team needs to investigate low-fuel weakness

Leclerc's breakout sixth-place finish in Baku took Sauber to 10 points from the first four races, its 2018 tally already bigger than that its points totals from three of the four previous seasons.

But the team's qualifying form has been subdued, with Baku marking the first time this season that a Sauber even made it out of the first qualifying segment.

Leclerc's Azerbaijan GP result was aided by attrition, but he has highlighted the opening stint - in which he maintained top-10 pace and even kept the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at bay for a number of laps - as evidence that the C37 is much stronger when carrying a lot of fuel.

"As I was saying before the race, our race pace is stronger than our qualifying pace at the moment," Leclerc explained.

"Now we really need to investigate that and to make our low-fuel pace better.

"But if we manage to do that, we should be very competitive - because our race pace at the beginning of the race was really great. Then at the end with low fuel we struggled a bit more."

Marcus Ericsson, who had recorded the team's other points-scoring finish of 2018 in China by finishing ninth from 17th on the grid, reckoned that Sauber is struggling with the softer compounds that it has to run in qualifying.

"It's still clear we are struggling more over one lap than race pace," Ericsson said. "Charles did a very good job in qualifying [in Baku] but still I think we are stronger in the race.

"We are really struggling with the softer compounds, I have a feeling that for some reason we haven't really found a way to optimise them yet."

Ericsson added that making the C37 more competitive over one lap should now be top of Sauber's to-do list.

"For me that's the main priority now going forward - that we manage to find an extra bit of performance on Saturdays, because I really feel on Sundays we have a good car to fight the midfield," he said.

"Charles' pace [in Baku] was really strong compared to the cars around him and if we have a good track position for the race, starting in the mix, we can have strong races.

"You need a good starting position. We need to take a step."

shares
comments
The winners and losers of F1 2018 so far

Previous article

The winners and losers of F1 2018 so far

Next article

Renault to give junior Jack Aitken F1 test opportunity at Barcelona

Renault to give junior Jack Aitken F1 test opportunity at Barcelona
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Sauber
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021