Sauber chief on 2004, Ferrari, Bridgestone and Bahrain
Felipe Massas eighth place in Malaysia gave the Sauber team their first point of 2004 last Sunday. Back at the Swiss teams Hinwil base, boss Peter Sauber spoke to their press office about his impressions of the season so far.
Q: Sauber Petronas scored one point in the first two races. What is your assessment of the start to the new season?
Peter Sauber: We have expected, and we also said before the first race, that it will be extremely difficult this season to score points. So we are all the happier that we were able to get one here in Malaysia.
Q: How important was it for your team to score a point in the home race of your main sponsor, Petronas?
PS: Of course it's always a pleasure to score a Championship point but here in Malaysia it is a double joy because this point is not only for Petronas, but also for the Malaysian people.
Q: Did you expect Ferrari's domination?
PS: At the Australian Grand Prix I was really surprised by it, but after Melbourne one came to expect that Michael Schumacher and Ferrari would also dominate the second race.
Q: Bridgestone seems to have made a clear step forward, particularly under hot conditions.
PS: In Melbourne we benefited from an all-new tyre construction, and in Malaysia we also had the right compound to be competitive even under very hot conditions. This development is promising for the future.
Q: What is your impression of your two drivers?
PS: Giancarlo (Fisichella) was certainly not spoilt by luck in his first two races, but I'm convinced that he will get over this and will be able in the future to demonstrate his true skills. Felipe drove two good races and scored a well deserved point in Malaysia.
Q: What does it need for Sauber Petronas to further improve?
PS: I am convinced that the Sauber Petronas C23 has a lot of potential which we can exploit as the season progresses. We have two new drivers and two new race engineers, and I am sure that the team will further grow together and enable us to achieve more. Our goal is to improve constantly from race to race.
Q: When can we expect the first results from the new wind tunnel in Hinwil?
PS: The new wind tunnel became fully operational three weeks ago and we have already generated some preliminary results. However, this was not yet reflected in the performance of the car. We expect that we can now gradually increase its benefit race by race during the season.
Q: What are your expectations for the next race in Bahrain?
PS: I think it's extremely important for Formula One to be present in the Middle East, so I'm really looking forward to this Grand Prix.