Driver Q&A - Saubers Hulkenberg & Gutierrez 02 Feb 2013
Sauber field an all-new driver line-up for 2013. Germanys Nico Hulkenberg arrives on a high, having led much of the final race of 2012 in Brazil, where the 25-year-old ultimately finished fifth for Force India. And 21-year-old Mexican team mate Esteban Gutierrez, third in last seasons GP2 Series, steps up from Saubers reserve role to make his F1 race debut
Q: Nico, Esteban, the start of the 2013 Formula One season is approaching. Is the adrenaline pumping yet?
Nico Hulkenberg: Not yet, no. The moment before the first race in Melbourne will definitely be the one to quicken the pulse!
Esteban Gutierrez: Not really, as I feel very calm at the moment. My goal is to focus on the most important things in my preparation, and then before Melbourne I'm quite sure we will all have the adrenaline pumping to the maximum.
Q: How did the winter preparations go?
NH: Very good. It was the ideal combination of a two-week training camp and intensive fitness training.
EG: The winter preparations went really well. Apart from all my training back home, I also had the chance to spend very good days in Austria in December and January concentrating on my physical preparation, mainly based on winter sports like cross-country skiing, climbing through the snow, etc.
Q: What are your expectations of the Sauber team?
NH: We need to build on the solid basis of last year and reach some good results. But it is a whole new season: New game, new luck! We really have to wait and see what happens when we hit the track for the first time. And then well take it from there.
EG: With the progress the team has made in the previous years, I expect that as a team we will keep going in this same direction in order to reach our goals.
Q: Do you appreciate the close relationships the Sauber team nurtures with its fans?
NH: Fans are an essential part of sport in general. If you receive so much fan mail, it does touch you personally. I am really trying to answer everything.
EG: Yes definitely, I think that to share all experiences, both failures and victories, with the fans is the way to make sure all the energies coming from our supporters are positive.
Q: Tests involve a lot of hard graft. How do you prepare yourself?
NH: Physical fitness and intensive work with the engineers. But actually I am just looking forward to finally sitting in the car.
EG: Mainly by keeping my mind clear for the tests so I can give my best feedback to the team, as it is a very important development stage in preparation for the races.
Q: How long does it actually take to adjust to a new car?
NH: It is a mix of different factors. It takes a couple of days until every detail is right. Usually the adjustment process is completed when the first race is about to start.
EG: In the beginning the most important task is to solve all the cars reliability issues so we can put in a lot of laps in the tests. Then, of course, another important factor is to get to know the car in race and qualifying conditions, which mainly comes with experience during the first races.
Q: How well do you actually know your team mate?
NH: We have not got to know each other very well so far, but we met in the paddock every now and then and I value him as a team mate.
EG: I know that Nico has a similar working mentality to mine as prior to making it to Formula One we have raced in the same teams for a similar amount of time in the lower categories.
Q: What will be the greatest (sporting) challenge of the upcoming season?
NH: To show a consistent good performance at every single race.
EG: To be consistent at a good competitive level.
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