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Sauber blames drivers

2010-04-12 11:13
Part of the reason for Sauber's competitive struggle so far in 2010 is the drivers, according to boss and founder Peter Sauber.

In the wake of former owner BMW's withdrawal at the end of 2009, this year's C29 showed well during winter testing, but Sauber is now the only established team yet to score a single point.

Sauber, 66, has now admitted that the car was probably more lightly fuelled than its rivals during the pre-season, while also acknowledging that the "uncertainty" about the team's future, and the reductions in staff and budget, had an impact.

But in an interview with F1's official website, the Swiss also admitted: "I am convinced that the fact that both our drivers are new in the team plays a certain role."

Sauber signed long-time McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa, as well as feisty Japanese rookie Kamui Kobayashi, for the 2010 season, but contrary to earlier reports, the pair have not brought any significant sponsorship to the team.

Sauber admitted: "The communication and cooperation between the drivers and engineers at the moment is not where it ideally should be.  That is not a criticism, just a sort of diagnosis."

He refused to say whether, with hindsight, he would make the same decision to sign Spaniard de la Rosa, 39, alongside 23-year-old Kobayashi.

"I do not want to touch on the issue of the drivers as it would be inappropriate.  I took this driver lineup decision, and the considerations that led to the decision are still valid.

"What we probably underestimated is the time it would take for the drivers' familiarisation.  Pedro, after many years as a test driver, is now back racing and that acclimatisation process is probably more challenging than we anticipated," said Sauber.

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