Motor Racing

Sauber sees benefit in changes for 2014 F1 season

Sauber sees benefit in changes for 2014 F1 season
Gutierrez building a balsa wood model car at the Sauber F1 team and Chelsea Football Club’s cross-sport activity at Henderson Secondary School yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Published: 4:02 AM, September 19, 2013

SINGAPORE — The 2014 Formula 1 season is set to be a game changer for the sport, with some of the biggest changes in technical regulations to be introduced in recent years.

These include the switch from 2.4-litre, V8 engines to 1.6-litre, V6 turbo engines, fuel limitations and aerodynamics.

But although the jury is still out on how these changes will affect smaller teams with limited budgets, privately-owned Swiss outfit Sauber — whose BMW Sauber team finished second in the constructor standings in 2007 before BMW’s withdrawal a year later — are hoping to get back to racing with the big boys soon.

“There are big changes next season with the new engines coming in and, for the smaller teams, it is a question of resources,” said Sauber Marketing Director Alex Sauber — the youngest son of founder and former team principal Peter Sauber — at the sidelines of the Sauber F1 team and Chelsea Football Club’s cross-sport activity at Henderson Secondary School yesterday.

“It’s hard to say (if this will level the competition). But this is chance for all with the new regulations, and a great chance for us to do better than this season.”

After last year’s sixth-place finish in the Constructors’ Championship, Sauber’s C32 car has not been as competitive this year. But rookie driver Esteban Gutierrez is undeterred. “The team situation has not been great, and it has been challenging for me,” said the 22-year-old Mexican ahead of this Sunday’s Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. “The Singapore track has the most corners on the F1 calendar and humidity is very high, but it is one of my favourite events.”

The former GP3 champion is also keen to emulate the success of former Sauber drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. He said: “My goal is to be in the points first, and in the next two years, fight for the podium, and achieve the world title in the next five years.” LOW LIN FHOONG