Sauber says qualifying improvement now key to maintaining podium form

Sauber is targeting a much-needed improvement to its qualifying pace for the Chinese Grand Prix, so it can capitalise on the kind of race form that helped Sergio Perez challenge for victory in Malaysia

Sauber says qualifying improvement now key to maintaining podium form

The Swiss outfit is confident that its C31 has the speed to deliver more podium finishes this year, but it feels its chances of doing that will be compromised if it cannot get its drivers nearer the front of the grid.

Sauber's chief designer Matt Morris thinks the team has made gains in qualifying pace since last year, but reckons there is still room for improvement - which is why changes will come for the next race at Shanghai.

"I think we have a better balance between qualifying and the race, but we still need to find more performance in qualifying because we are not qualifying where the pace of the car is," he told AUTOSPORT. "That is something that we accept and are concentrating on now."

Morris said the team was working hard on both set-up tweaks that will help bring its tyres into a better performance window, as well as car upgrades.

"There are lots of things you can do in terms of set-up," he said. "There are also some parts that we will bring to Shanghai to test, as it will be a lot cooler there than it was in Malaysia.

"Clearly we have a competitive car, and we have to keep the momentum up now. We need to push on and score some more points - because to have what we have already got after the first two races is a dream start for us."

And with Morris believing that the Malaysia circuit with its long straights did not play to the strengths of the C31, he reckons there are grounds to feel confident about what can be achieved at venues that will be better for his car.

"It is very circuit dependent and, with our car, the layout of Malaysia was not best suited to it," he said. "So to come away from there with what we came away with was great. To be competitive there bodes well.

"It was a great effort from the team, and the guys back at the factory. We knew in Melbourne that we have a competitive car this year, and we can build on this. We need to put more performance on the car and continue to score more points and podiums."

Sauber is planning a big development upgrade for its car for the Spanish Grand Prix, as well as further tweaks to its DRS to help its overtaking potential.

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