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Kaltenborn: Sauber will set 2014 goals once testing complete

26 Jan 2014

Such is the complexity of the 2014 rule changes, team principal Monisha Kaltenborn insists Sauber will not be setting themselves any season targets until they have seen how their new car performs in testing.

The Ferrari-powered C33 was revealed in an online launch on Sunday and will begin testing alongside the majority of its 2014 rivals (Lotus will be absent) at Jerez in Spain on Tuesday, when the public will get its first glimpse of the new season’s V6 turbo-engined machines running in anger.

“Due to the radical changes in the technical regulations, predictions are simply impossible to make at this stage,” said Kaltenborn. “Even more so than in previous years, any impression of how the teams stand against each other will only emerge once winter testing has been completed. That is also when we will announce our goals for the 2014 season.”

Last year Sauber endured a difficult start to their campaign and their form only really picked up in the latter part of the year after Pirelli had made revisions to their tyres. Kaltenborn believes lessons were learned, however, and with the experienced Adrian Sutil replacing Nico Hulkenberg alongside Esteban Gutierrez, she is optimistic about the Swiss team’s new driver line-up.

“We have put a very challenging year behind us. The first half of 2013 in particular was difficult for us, but the second half saw us making significant strides. We learnt a great deal during this time and will be applying the lessons in the new season.

“Adrian is somebody we’ve been observing for some time and with whom we’ve been in contact since September. That is why I’m particularly delighted we’ve managed to get him on board. He has repeatedly demonstrated just how fast he is, and he isn’t lacking in experience either, being about to enter his seventh season. In the light of the far-reaching technical changes, that is an advantage not to be underestimated.

“As for Esteban Gutierrez, we have long considered him to be a talented racing driver. We know him extremely well as his connections with our team go back several years. Last year he had a difficult start, but managed to steadily progress. He has also settled into the team very well. We are confident he can now turn his experience into good results.”

Sutil’s arrival at Sauber marks a major change for the German, who prior to his move to Hinwil had spent his entire F1 career with Force India (known as Spyker when he joined them).

“After six good years in the same team, it was time for me to look for a new challenge,” he said. “I’m determined to have a successful future with the Sauber F1 Team and will do my bit to ensure that.

“In recent years the team has repeatedly demonstrated its potential, not least in the second half of the last season. And as for infrastructure, the Sauber F1 Team are a match for anybody. I can’t wait to take on the challenge!”

Sutil’s experience should help Gutierrez adapt to 2014’s technical changes, as the Mexican enters his second season of Formula One competition on the back of a character-building rookie year which saw him finally take his maiden F1 points at last October’s Japanese round.

“Last season I had a steep learning curve,” said Gutierrez, “but working together with the team, I was able to make steady progress. This is my fourth year with the Swiss team, and the second as a racing driver. Last year I learnt a great deal and I feel ready for the next step.

“The 2014 season will be a huge challenge on the technical front, which makes it all the more important to know the people you work with well. I will do everything I can to improve further and to support the team with all the resources I have.”