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Adrian Sutil Q&A: 2014 will be a game of trial and error

03 Mar 2014

Adrian Sutil is one of several drivers on the 2014 grid who hasn’t just had to adjust to the radical new regulations this winter, but also to life at a new team - in his case Sauber. So with pre-season testing now over, does the 31-year-old German feel ready for the first race in Australia? Not quite, as it turns out…

Q: Adrian, what do you take from the test season? Obviously Sunday was a good day, but many days were a bit more difficult…

Adrian Sutil: Sunday morning was very important - to get through our programme - and finally test. We did a qualifying and a race simulation and go back with a huge bag of data that we have to go through before setting our eyes on Melbourne. It was a good day, thank God!

Q: Other teams are obviously not without issues, so what’s your guess from a Sauber perspective on what the critical points are?

AS: Each and every aspect of the car. It is all so brand new. But we will get on top of it - no question. I hardly know my car and what is going on to our left and right is something that I don’t even want to guess. No speculation for me. In Melbourne we will see who will make it to the chequered flag. That will be the first real indication.

Q: Do you think many cars will reach the chequered flag in Melbourne?

AS: How would I know? It’s all in the flow. It might turn out to be a fantastic race or a rather dull one with only a few cars finishing. Whatever people say or believe now, it very likely will turn out differently to what the so-called experts predict.

Q: So coming to your situation: how are you feeling about your new team now that the test and the ‘getting to know you’ phase is over?

AS: I feel very good. We work well together, that is for sure - but don’t forget it is only a bit over two months (that we’ve been working together) so the ‘getting to know’ phase is still going on.

Q: Can you explain in brief what happened to you on Saturday? You only managed one lap on what was a crucial test day…

AS: We had some issues with the power train and had to change the engine. As this is a rather difficult and time consuming matter, it was not possible to go out any more. But at least now we know how long it requires to change an engine under time pressure.

Q: How damaging was it to miss so much track time?

AS: Of course you want to do as much mileage as possible. But that was a new problem and we understand now why it happened and how to eliminate it. Better at a test than in the race!

Q: Do you feel prepared for Melbourne?

AS: No. But I would be surprised if anybody in the paddock would say that he is - I wouldn’t believe them! (laughs) We will be learning something with every race. My prediction is that the whole season will be a game of trial and error.

Q: If you could have one more day of running, how would you invest your time?

AS: Probably the same programme as Sunday morning - trying to do better.

Q: How significant are the Bahrain findings for the first few races?

AS: Pretty significant. We had great conditions here. It was warm so there was no issue bringing the tyres up to temperature. The track delivers a huge amount of valid data. It was the perfect situation for testing. Of course, from where we are now it would be fantastic to have some more days - but who wouldn’t want to do more? Now, let’s go racing - that’s the only way to find out where everybody is, including us.