Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Melbourne, 2012

Sauber working on qualifying weakness

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Melbourne, 2012In the round-up: Sauber’s chief designer says “we are not qualifying where the pace of the car is”.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Sauber: Qualifying key to keeping form (Autosport)

Chief designer Matt Morris: “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. That is something that we accept and are concentrating on now.”

Button happy with life at McLaren (The Telegraph)

“People talk about Ferrari and them being very passionate, and they are. But I don’t think most people realise how passionate this team is, and how much they want to achieve.”

McLaren improve the MP4-27 (Sky)

Martin Whitmarsh: “We’re not complacent. We have to improve our car, we have to find performance improvements – and fortunately we have.”

Vettel confident of return to the top after winning outstanding achievement gong (Daily Mail)

“It’s a shame I didn’t get a point in Malaysia. There are a lot of races to come and we should be in good shape.”

Looking ahead to China (BBC)

“Apart from the well-known problems at Ferrari, Mercedes are the team who will perhaps be doing the most soul-searching.”
The Pit Stop: F1’s cookie cutter calendar (Unibet)

My latest column for Unibet.

Comment of the day

Matt is surprised teams are going to such lengths to copy – or ban – a design which does not appear to be producing results:

If Mercedes were pulling clean sweeps on Sunday, all right, I could see an argument there, but they?re not.

Qualifying isn?t what it used to be with the new tyres, with normal DRS, with set in stone gear ratios, and all the other changes that have gone on in the past decade. How many times in 2011 did a driver charge from way back in the grid to a top spot? I seem to remember some great charges from the likes of Kobayashi and the Torro Rosso boys, and we saw Kimi Raikkonen go from 18th to seventh in Australia.

Look at Mercedes now. Schumacher has been taken out of contention twice through extenuating circumstances, and Rosberg goes nowhere but backwards during a race. They have a single point to their name, and are in between the Toro Rosso team and Marussia. If Red Bull took the hint the second, or even third time the system was declared legal, they could already have a working ‘Front wing F-duct’ on their car, and any qualifying advantage would be nullified.

But no. They seem perfectly content to pull a Ferrari and hope to get Charlie and co. to ban everything that they can?t quickly duplicate or improve upon.

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On this day in F1

Niki Lauda scored the first Grand Prix win of his comeback 30 years ago today in the United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach.

The McLaren driver passed pole sitter Andrea de Cesaris to win. Keke Rosberg was second for Williams.

Gilles Villeneuve was third on the road for Ferrari but disqualified for a technical infringement relating to his unusual, extra-wide rear wing (see the video below).

That promoted Riccardo Patrese, who’d started 18th for Brabham, into the final podium position.

Image ?? Sauber F1 Team