Sauber: Young line-up not a handicap

The lack of Formula 1 experience in Sauber's driver line-up will not be detrimental to the team's development efforts, technical director James Key insists, as he praised Kamui Kobayashi's efforts to step up into a team leader role already

Sauber: Young line-up not a handicap

With Kobayashi having only contested 21 grands prix and his new team-mate Sergio Perez fresh from GP2, Sauber is set to have the least experienced driver pairing in the F1 field this year - subject to who Hispania picks to partner Narain Karthikeyan.

Last season Kobayashi was able to rely on having veterans Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld in the sister car, but he is now Sauber's primary source of technical feedback.

Key reckons the Japanese driver is already raising his game to meet this challenge.

"They are both doing their best and doing a good job at giving us decent feedback," Key told AUTOSPORT.

"Kamui is being very good. He's trying to assist as much as possible with our understanding the tyres and the way that the car is responding and we have all agreed with him where we think the weaknesses lie that we need to work on next. His feedback reflects what we are seeing.

"You always want to have a reference point with lots of experience because they can pick up on something that they remember from five years ago and they can run through the ways to deal with it, but it's not really an issue for us."

Perez is also finding his feet within the team, according to Key.

"Sergio is coming up to speed quickly with his understanding of things and he's beginning to make proactive comments rather than waiting to be asked," he said. "He's coming up with ideas and he discusses things in the garage, which at this stage is good.

"It's never ideal to be in the position we are in with such inexperience, but it's certainly not to the detriment of the team."

Key is also calm about Perez's incidents in testing so far, with the Mexican having put his car in the barriers at Jerez and spun into the gravel in the wet at Catalunya last weekend.

"The off in Jerez was just inexperience and optimism on his part - personally I think he should have lifted!" said Key. "I think the Barcelona off was because of slippery conditions and the tyres take some getting used to, so you can't hammer him for sliding off.

"Otherwise he has been good. He's still got a bit to go in terms of getting used to the car and extracting the most out of it, but his long runs have been consistent."

shares
comments
Q & A: Key on Sauber's progress

Previous article

Q & A: Key on Sauber's progress

Next article

Renault: Heidfeld already leading team

Renault: Heidfeld already leading team
Load comments
The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021