Tag Archives: Sauber

Time to say goodbye: Kamui Kobayashi

3 Jan

I take it he was just another Japanese driver with a lack of talent who only got there because of money?

You’d be wrong, Kamui has widely be regarded as the best ever Japanese driver in Formula 1 and surprisingly for this current era didn’t come with much money behind him at all.

So how did his F1 career start?

After winning the 2008/09 GP2 AirAsia series Kamui was promoted into the Toyota F1 from the test driver role (a role he’d already held for 2 seasons) for the final two races of the 2009 season to replace Timo Glock who had suffered a broken leg in qualifying for the Japanese GP.

It was a blitzing start to an F1 career, Kobayashi made his debut at the Brazilian GP and held off that seasons drivers champion Jenson Button for many laps on his way to 9th place (in 2009 there were only points for finishing 1-8), many felt it was a one off but he continued the impressive performances in Abu Dhabi finishing 6th to pick up 3 points.

So it was a very impressive start, could he continue the performances in his second season?

Not only did he continue them he got better, despite failing to finish the first four races Kobayashi claimed the position of being the best driver at overtaking on the grid making moves spectators considered impossible, his 2 most famous being his final lap of the European GP and his move at the hairpin at his home Japanese GP.

How was his overtaking affected by the introduction of DRS?

Since DRS appeared it has been a rarity to see Kamui pull off a phenomenal overtaking manoeuvre, but what he lost in finesse he gained in consistent scoring, in 2011 he was regularly picking up points, including a outstanding performance in Monaco where by finding himself in the right place at the right time he finished 5th, and in 2012 he got better, he made the top 3 in qualifying thrice including a sublime front row in Belgium (sadly he was taken out at the start in the trail of destruction made by Grosjean) and finished in the top 6 on five occasions including getting his debut podium at his home Japanese GP.

So if he’s already good and appears to only be getting better why has he been dropped?

Money. Sadly Kamui has never come with much sponsorship backing and although this should be classed as a remarkable achievement to get hear without it it means that teams just won’t consider signing him.

Do you think he’ll ever be back?

I hope so. In my opinion he’s a driver who maybe had the potential to be a race winner and when he was in form he took his car far and beyond where it should have been.


Vettel wins to put himself back in the championship hunt

23 Sep

Good day Bad day, Singapore 12.

Good Day:

Paul Di Resta: 9/10 S6 F4 #DriverOfTheDay

Paul lit up the race today, he wasn’t the most exciting driver to watch, but he picked up the big 12 points to show yet again why he should be on the wanted lists of the big teams.

Sebastian Vettel: 8/10 S3 F1 (S = started from, F = finished)

After a disappointing performance in qualifying yesterday the pressure was on for Vettel to pick up big points and he did just that, overtaking Maldonado at turn 2 before inheriting 1st from Hamilton due to Lewis retiring. Vettel is now 2nd in the championship and it would be a mistake to rule him out of a 3rd championship.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 S13 F8

After a disappointing qualifying session for Massa yesterday and a puncture on lap 1 it took some phenomenal driving skill to pick up 4 points. Massa gave a tutorial in overtaking today pulling a fantastic move on Senna despite being given little room to manoeuvre in. One thing that’s for certain we can’t rule Felipe out of driving for Ferrari next season.

Marussia: 8/10

With Timo Glock putting in a fantastic performance to finish 12th Marussia have moved into the very important 10th place in the constructors standings. If they can stay there then they will pick up a lot more money at the end of the year which will put them in a better position for next season.

Bad Day:

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 S1 F ret.

Lewis hasn’t had a very lucky season and today’s incident may be the final problem in terms of the world championship. Lewis is now 52 points behind with 6 races left. Lewis had started the race brightly and was regarded by many as the favourite to win until the car lost drive and retired on lap 22.

Michael Schumacher: 3/10 S9 F ret.

Michael was on for a points finish when he lost concentration and just piled into the back of Vergne. In his defence he has had brake problems all weekend but I’d be very surprised if he isn’t disciplined after the race.

Williams: 6/10

Williams started today after getting a driver to the front row of the grid but the good form didn’t last. Senna had problems with his gearbox early on (despite taking a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change) before Maldonado retired with hydraulics problems. Senna then almost received a penalty for an incident with Massa before hitting the barriers once too often to retire with 2 laps remaining.

Sauber: 7/10

Sauber were never expected to be strong in Singapore but I’m very surprised that none of their drivers managed to pick up any points in a weekend where rivals Mercedes and Force India picked up big points. Luckily Sauber are expected to be a lot stronger at Suzuka and we could maybe see another Sauber podium there.



Vettel dominates practice, but it’s Lewis on pole

22 Sep

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Singapore 12


McLaren: Since a disappointing start to the season McLaren have turned their season round amazingly, and with Hamilton putting in a blistering time for pole today McLaren have now had 4 poles in a row. This turnaround is vitally important, not only in keeping Hamilton for 2013 but also to make a final challenge for the championship. Button will start from 4th.

Pastor Maldonado: Despite winning in Valencia there hasn’t been a lot of good news relating to Maldonado, but it was a fantastic result for the Venezuelan to claim a front row spot for the start tomorrow and with his consistency this will throw the cat among the pigeons for any predictions relating to tomorrow’s race.

Paul Di Resta: Paul was strong in Singapore last year finishing 6th and has done very well again qualifying 6th. With Singapore having a high attrition rate I wouldn’t rule out a top 4, or maybe even a podium finish.


Sebastian Vettel: After setting the fastest times in every practice session Vettel was widely regarded as the most likely driver to take pole position, but Vettel seemed to struggle today only managing 3rd.

Felipe Massa: With Alonso leading the championship you’d expect Massa to be competing for top 3 places in qualifying, but the reality is Massa is struggling as shown by his 13th place today. Although you’d expect him to still pick up points tomorrow he needs to up his game and pray if he’s to stay at Ferrari next year.

Sauber: To be fair to the team Sauber’s can isn’t suited to the Singapore circuit so I wasn’t expecting anything amazing, but I didn’t imagine they’d have a driver out in Q1 and not have a driver in the top 12. Sauber will need Kobayashi to show off his overtaking skills and Perez to put in one of his phenomenal performances tomorrow to pick up some points. I expect Sauber to be much stronger in the next race at Japan.

Sauber – a brief history

15 Sep

Sauber have been one of the biggest surprises of the season, 3 podiums to their name and fighting for 5th in the championship, with a budget that is insignificant went placed next to the big 5. Here’s a brief history:


  • Peter Sauber founds Sauber F1 team.
  • Sauber ran with Ilmor engines.
  • They pick up 12 points and finish 7th in the constructors championship.
  • Karl Wendlinger picks up 7 points and finishes 12th.
  • Whilst JJ Lehto picks up 5 to finish 13th.


  • The team receives backing from Mercedes, and used their engines.
  • The team pick up another 12 points to finish 8th.
  • Karl Wendlinger stayed on for the first 4 races, before he picked up an injury, picking up 4 points to finish 19th.
  • Heinz-Harald Frentzen got his F1 debut season and picked up 7 points to finish 13th.
  • Andrea de Cesaris joined the team for 9 races, as a replacement for Wendlinger he retired from 8 but picked up a point for the team to take his season tally to 4 (he picked up 3 for Jordan) and finished 19th. This was de Cesaris last season in F1.
  • JJ Lehto drove for the team in 2 races, (after replacing de Cesaris) he picked up 0 points but finished 24th after picking up a point at Benetton.


  • Sauber become sponsored by Red Bull.
  • Started using Ford engines.
  • 18 points sees the team finish 7th in the constructors standings.
  • Wendlinger drove for the first 4 races  before being dropped and being recalled up for the final 2 races, Karl picked up 0 points. Wendlinger retired from the sport at the end of 1995.
  • Heinz-Harald Frentzen stayed with Sauber, he picked up 15 points, including Sauber’s first podium in Italy. Heinz finished 9th overall.
  • Rookie Jean-Christophe Boullion replaced Wendlinger and picked up 3 points to finish 16th before being dropped in favour of Wendlinger.  Boullion never drove in F1 again.


  • Sauber picked up 11 points to finish 7th.
  • Frentzen drove for the team for a third year, picking up 7 points to finish 12th, before leaving the team at the end of the year.
  • Johnny Herbert joined the team and picked up 4 points, all for a podium finish in Monaco. Herbert finished 14th.


  • The team built it’s own engine under the name Petronas, although every part was made by Ferrari. This deal carries on until the start of the 2006 season.
  • Sauber finished with 16 points and 7th place (at least they’re consistent).
  • Herbert stayed with the team and picked up 15 points including a podium in Hungary to finish 10th.
  • Nicola Larini drove for the first 6 races before being dropped because he didn’t get on with the Sauber management. He picked up 1 point to finish 19th. Larini retired after 1997.
  • Gianni Morbidelli replaced Larini but missed a few races due to injuries in testing. He picked up 0 points and retired from F1 at the end of the year.
  • Norberto Fontana replace Morbidelli for the 4 races he missed, he picked up 0 points in the only 4 F1 races of his career.


  • Sauber get 10 points to finish 6th in the constructors championship.
  • Johnny Herbert gets 1 point to finish 15th. Herbert left Sauber at the end of the year to join Stewart.
  • Jean Alesi moves from Benetton, he gets 9 points, including a podium in Belgium to finish 11th.


  • Sauber only managed 5 points but still finished 8th.
  • Jean Alesi managed to get 2 points to finish 16th. Alesi left to Prost at the end of the year.
  • Pedro Diniz was signed from Arrows, he picked up 3 points and finished 14th.


  • Sauber pick up 6 points to finish 8th.
  • Diniz didn’t pick up any points and decided to retire at the end of the season.
  • Mika Salo joined the team after spending the previous year covering for injured drivers at BAR and Ferrari. Salo picked up 6 points and finished 11th. Salo then left to help Toyota prepare for the 2002 season.


  • With an all new line up Sauber got 21 points and finished 4th, their best ever season as Sauber.
  • Red Bull stopped sponsoring the team after a fall out over the signing of Kimi Raikkonen
  • Nick Heidfeld was signed from Prost, Heidfeld picked up 12, including a podium in Brazil points and finished 8th.
  • Future WDC Kimi Raikkonen joined the team having never raced in F1 before, he picked up 9 points to finish 10th. At the end of the season Raikkonen moved to McLaren.


  • Sauber picked up 11 points and finished 5th.
  • Heidfeld picked up 7 points and finished 10th.
  • Felipe Massa moved into the team with no experience, he picked up 4 points and finished 13th. At the end of the year Massa became the Ferrari test driver.
  • Heinz-Harald Frentzen rejoined the team to replace Massa for one race after Massa was injured. Frentzen didn’t pick up any points for Sauber but finished 18th after picking up 2 points for Arrows.


  • At the start of 2003 the points system changed from 10-6-4-3-2-1 to 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1
  • Sauber picked 19 points and finished 6th.
  • Heidfeld drove for the team for a third time, picking up 6 points and finishing 14th. Heidfeld joined Jordan at the end of the year.
  • Frentzen drove a 5th and final season for Sauber before retiring from the sport. He picked up 13 points and finished 11th, finishing 3rd in the US GP.


  • Despite picking up a bumper crop of 34 points Sauber couldn’t improve on their previous 6th place finishing 6th.
  • Experienced driver Giancarlo Fisichella joined the team for just one season, Fisichella got 22 points and finished 11th.
  • Felipe Massa returned his year as Ferrari test driver, Felipe got 12 points and finished 12th.


  • Despite a strong line up Sauber could only pick up 20 points and finished 8th.
  • 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve joined Sauber but only got 9 points and finished 14th.
  • Felipe Massa managed to pick up 11 points and finished 13th. At the end of the year Massa joined Ferrari, the team he still drives for today (2012).


  • The team received investment from BMW and for the next 4 seasons the team would run with BMW engines.
  • BMW Sauber picked up 36 points finishing 5th.
  • Heidfeld returned, his 23 points meant he finished 9th.
  • Jacques Villeneuve stayed with the team picking up 7 points finishing 15th. After Villeneuve had to miss the Hungarian GP due to injury he fell out with the management and retired from F1.
  •  Rookie, Robert Kubica replaced Villeneuve, Kubica got 6 points and finished 16th.


  • BMW Sauber had a phenomenal season, the 101 points they picked up led the team to 2nd place, BMW Sauber’s best finish.
  • Heidfeld got 61 points finishing 5th. Nick’s best result was a 3rd place in Hungary.
  • Robert Kubica stayed for a 2nd season picking up 39 points finishing 6th.
  • Future WDC Sebastian Vettel replaced Kubica for one race due to Kubica suffering an injury. In his very first race he finished 8th which contributed to his points haul of 6 points finishing 14th, (the rest of his points came at Toro Rosso).


  • Despite only finishing 3rd I for one regard 2008 as Sauber’s greatest year, their 135 points included the only race victory of the team’s history.
  • Robert Kubica had a fantastic year, winning the Canadian GP and finishing on the podium a further 6 times. Kubica picked up 75 points and finished 4th in the championship.
  • Nick Heidfeld’s 6th season with Sauber/BMW Sauber Heidfeld finished on the podium 4 times and picked up 60 points finishing 6th in the championship.


  • After two fantastic seasons BMW Sauber had a bad season, only picking up 36 points and only finishing 6th.
  • Kubica only got 1 podium, picking up 17 points and finishing 14th, at the end of the season Kubica left BMW Sauber and joined Renault.
  • Nick Heidfeld picked up 19 points and finished 13th.


  • At the end of 2009 BMW pulled out of F1 leaving Peter Sauber in complete control of the team.
  • Monisha Kaltenborn was named as CEO of the team, the first female CEO of an F1 team.
  • Sauber switched to Ferrari engines for the 2010 season, a deal that still exists.
  • At the start of the 2010 season the points system was changed from 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 to 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4–2-1.
  • With the change of management the the driver line up was completely changed.
  • McLaren reserve driver Pedro De La Rosa came into the team, but after only picking up 6 points (finishing 17th) he was replaced for the final few races by the returning Nick Heidfeld who 6 points (finishing 18th). At the end of the year De La Rosa rejoined McLaren as the reserve driver whilst Heidfeld joined Renault.
  • After a promising display in the final two races of the 2009 season Kamui Kobayashi joined Sauber for 2010, picking up 32 points and finishing 12th in the championship.


  • Sauber picked up 44 points for the second season in a row but improved their championship position finishing 7th.
  • Kobayashi stayed on with the team picking up 30 points and finishing 12th.
  • Sergio Perez joined the team from GP2, Perez picked up 14 points finishing 16th in a promising rookie season.
  • Pedro De La Rosa replaced Perez for the Canadian GP due to Perez being ill. De La Rosa didn’t pick up any points before returning to his role as McLaren test driver.


  • Early on in 2012 1/3 of the Sauber team was transferred to Monisha Kaltenborn making her a part owner.

Button breaks duck (and it only took 50 attempts).

1 Sep

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Belgium 12


Jenson Button: It’s been 50 races for Button in a McLaren and at last the 2009 world champion has picked up a pole position. Jenson won’t have it all his own way tomorrow though, all of the top 9 were within a second of him and if McLaren bring out one of their world famous inconsistent pit stops anything could happen.

Sauber: For a midfield team who have never won a race under their own name Sauber are doing a grand job at giant killing. Kamui will start from 2nd on the grid after qualifying only 0.3 seconds behind Button, and with Kamui’s reputation as a master overtaker he could very easily win the race, Perez meanwhile will start from 5th and if he does his usual trick of not wearing out tyres Perez could very easily get a podium or even win.

Pastor Maldonado: Maldonado may be famous for his loose understanding for the rules but it was a fantastic lap by Maldonado to start 3rd tomorrow, and if the stewards don’t catch up with him there could be another podium on the cards.


Red Bull: On the negative side Vettel failed to make it out of Q2 and qualified 11th and Webber could only qualify 7th not including his 5 place grid penalty. On the positive side the penalty means Vettel has already got 1 place closer to leading and will start 10th. Maybe if they’re very lucky they could finish in the top 3.

Nico Rosberg: After winning in China big things were expected of Rosberg. Sadly he hasn’t fulfilled this potential and today he performed insanely badly to go out in Q1 in 18th, and to add insult to injury he picked up a 5 place grid penalty in FP3 for a gear box change meaning he’ll start 23rd.

Felipe Massa: When your career is on tenterhooks you don’t want to be knocked out in Q2. Sadly Massa did just this and will have to hope he can find time in the race and pick up big points.


Pastor Maldonado crashes out, again.

9 Jul

Driver Ratings, GB 12, Pt.4, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams.

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q12 S17 F11

Kamui has been under the radar so far this season, but he been one of the strongest drivers of the year, despite having less points than his younger team mate. Kamui started his race spectacularly  and was running 12th after just 3 laps (which made up for his 5 place grid penalty he was given after causing a collision in Valencia. During the second stint Kobayashi was running up in 9th, but he came out of the second pit session worse off in 12th and if Hulkenburg hadn’t spun on the final lap he wouldn’t have finished 11th. If Kobayashi hadn’t had the penalty and had started 12th he’d have definitely have finished in the points.

Sergio Perez: 8/10 Q17 S15 F ret.

In my opinion there is no doubt that Sergio would have finished in the points had his race not ended prematurely when Maldonado hit him. Sergio was unlucky on saturday in qualifying, a big error saw him not go out after the red flags and Sergio dramatically drop from 1st to 17th. But this singled Sergio out as the F1F man to watch. It was an astonishing start for Sergio, in the first lap alone he flew to 9th place and then overtook Senna for 8th position, but Pastor Maldonado then struck, colliding with Perez to end Sergio’s race. Full marks for Sergio to speaking his mind after the race as apposed to preaching the PR.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q14 S12 F13

Daniel has fallen back since his early season successes, but in recent weeks the Toro Rosso has fallen to the back of the midfield. Ricciardo had a very slow start, falling from 12th to 17th on the first lap alone but he stuck at it and he finished off his race by overtaking team mate Vergne in the final laps.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 6/10 Q16 S23 F14

This year’s Toro Rosso line up is widely regarded to decide who will replace Mark Webber when he leaves, and if the first nine race of this season are anything to go by it will be Daniel not Jean-Eric joining Red Bull. Despite qualifying in 16th Jean-Eric had to start from 23rd after a 10 place grid penalty for causing a collision at the European GP but he didn’t stay there long, ,moving back up to 16th on the first lap. It was the timing of the second pit stop that let Vergne finish 14th, his pit stop was earlier than most which helped him to 13th before a he was overtaken by Ricciardo late on.

Pastor Maldonado: 2/10 Q7 S7 F16

Maldonado received the hatred of the public again this weekend for colliding with Sergio Perez, this is one of many collisions Pastor has caused this year with many fans calling for him to have his license recalled.

Bruno Senna: 7/10 Q15 S13 F9

Bruno has struggled in the Williams car so far this season and it was a disappointing qualifying for the young Brazilian, but Senna threw himself into points contention at the start of the race, running 9th early on. But he didn’t have a good first pit stop session coming out back in 11th, but by going for a short second stint Senna was able to move back to 10th and in the points and it was because of the pressure Bruno applied that Nico Hulkenburg span out of the points on the last lap.

Bruno Senna was down, but not out.

25 Jun

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

Driver Ratings Europe 12, Pt. 4, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q7 F ret.

It was a promising weekend for Kobayashi, reaching Q3 and starting 7th, and Kamui performed well from the start to run in 4th. But unlucky timing saw Kamui having to pit twice before the safety car car came out, despite this Kobayashi looked like he could still pick up a good points finish before Kobayashi collided with Massa forcing Kobayashi to retire and meaning Kamui has a 5 place grid penalty for the British GP.

Sergio Perez: 7/10 Q15 F9

Couldn’t match Kobayashi’s pace in qualifying starting four rows further back on the grid, and things didn’t go well from the start. Sergio was running on the same strategy as Kamui Kobayashi with two pit stops before the safety car came out, but unlike Kamui Perez managed to finish the race, finishing in 9th after a late charge.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q17 F11

Ricciardo was one of the more aggressive drivers  of the race, colliding with Petrov, and although Ricciardo was largely unaffected Petrov really struggled. Most impressively about Ricciardo was that he was running 4th when the safety car came out. Ricciardo was set for 12th until Maldonado received a 20 second penalty to promote Daniel to 11th.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 6/10 Q18 F ret.

It was a short lived race for Jean-Eric, before a collision with Heikki Kovalainen forced Vergne to retire and brought out the safety car. Vergne was later punished with a 10 place grid penalty for the British GP for this collision.

Pastor Maldonado: 4/10 Q3 F12

I was amazed when Maldonado went 3rd fastest in Q3, but Maldonado struggled at the start of the race he lost two places early on, and it looked like he’d struggle. But he charged forwards near the end before hitting Hamilton whilst rejoining the track. Pastor was given a 20 second penalty for this, demoting him from 10th to 12th.

Bruno Senna: 7/10 Q14 F10

Again Senna was disappointing in qualifying, and started the race extremely unlucky, first he collided with Kobayashi forcing him to pit for a new front wing, and then the stewards – wrongly (in my opinion) – found him guilty for the accident and gave him a drive thru penalty, this left Senna a distant last. But once the safety car returned to the pits Bruno drove exceptionally to rise to 11th, this was promoted to 10th when Maldonado was given a 20 second penalty.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com