In an interview with the media yesterday, Sauber technical director Mark Smith has already identified an issue with the cooling of the team’s current car that he feels needs improvement heading into the 2016 Formula 1 season.
Although Smith has claimed his impact on the 2016 car will be “limited” due to his arrival at the team in mid-July; he is quickly trying to play catch up.
Sauber started the season positively in Australia, but since then performances and results have proven hard to come by for drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.
With 25 years of experience in F1, Sauber is hoping Smith can play his part in swiftly propelling the team into the points on a regular basis. In his interview with the media yesterday, Smith believes that if they are able to assess the situation and find a solution to the problem quickly, he will be able to get the best performance from the car at all times. Smith said the following:-
‘We need to be a bit more optimum with our cooling, and I’m talking about a trade-off between aero performance and cooling.
‘It was quite difficult for the guys this time last year because it was more of an unknown, now it’s more known as we go into next year, so we should be able to get closer to the optimum situation. The key thing is to ensure we extract the maximum from the car we have.
‘It’s been evident we started the season in a very strong position, but it has since been apparent the car has performed either better or worse subject to certain types of circuits. What we’re all working hard to try and do now is to understand why, and come up with some solutions that enable us to extract the maximum on a more consistent basis.’
As Smith says in his interview yesterday, it is clear that Sauber have had it difficult adapting to the new regulations and have struggled to get the areo performance and cooling balance just right. But Smith is confident that he will be able to get that balance right so that both of their drivers can achieve the best results possible out of the car.
But as he rightly points out, the team have started the season well but have struggled on certain circuits and they need to see where the problems lie with the other circuits and ensure that they try and find a viable solution in the near future.
Given Sauber’s limited budget, Smith recognises further on in his interview yesterday that he has to hit the mark with potential solutions to problems first time out. Smith added the following:-
‘I have my thoughts on what we need to do, I don’t think they are that significant, but like many things nothing happens overnight. The ingredients are all there, but what we have to do is make sure we get most things right first time. We won’t have the luxury of saying ‘OK, that didn’t work, let’s try again’.
‘So that’s going to be one of the key focuses, making sure we select the right course of action with the design of the car for next year, in particular. And that’s one of the biggest differences between the smaller and bigger teams in that with the former the options are limited, and that is the biggest challenge.
‘We will need to figure out what is right for us, with our architecture, with the tools we have, and follow that as best as we can.’
As Smith says, he has suggestions to the problems that Sauber are experiencing on the track and has a lot of experience in the sport as well which could prove to be very handy for the Sauber team in the near future as well. But as he rightly points out in his interview yesterday, it will take the team and Smith time to get the changes he hopes to make to the team and also the cars to get the position where they would be to be on the track.
They will not get it right first time out but if they keep on trying as much as budget will allow, then they will get there eventually under the leadership and guidance of Smith. And that is the goal of Smith and the Sauber team heading into the 2016 season; working on viable solutions to the problems that he has stated in his interview yesterday with the media and using everything that the team have under their disposal to achieve their aims in the near future.
As we know and Smith understands, Sauber do not have the resources of the bigger teams but they have the resources under them to get the best out of their cars as they have shown in the past and if Smith can get everything right, they can once again and I do fully believe that will happen in the near future.