Scoring just two points during the Brazilian Grand Prix it is easy to see why Sauber’s new Technical Direct Jorg Zander in looking to do better in 2017.
The former Audi man is not only looking for “clear improvements” but to lift the team from the bottom of the leader board all together.
With regulation change hitting the grid this season and the team’s financial prospects looking up under Long bow finance – midfield is not an impossible ask.
The obvious answer would seem to come from the car, get the car right and everything is just peachy. Not so. Zander is in fact focusing on the human element to really change the team’s fortunes. He says:
“The structure and process optimization have to be defined and implemented. These are note procedures that can be implemented through literature or instructions – these are ind8ividual adjustments in which human attributes and culture play an important role.”
Last season was tough for Sauber. Press speculation about the team’s finances, driver-line up and job uncertainly did nothing for the unseen members of the team - all the more reason why those two points in Brazil mattered so much. Now a change in mind set is required to allow for both failure and success. Zander admits that this will take time.
Joining Sauber in December 2016, after the team had already agreed to run Ferrari’s 2016 engine, Zander’s work this year, might already seem to be on the back foot. He comments: “We are on plan with the C36 and we are optimistic that our current development is heading in the right direction”.
2017 cars will be wider by up to 2 meters, this in addition to heavier wider tyres and not to mention the increased weight of the cars of 728kg – reliability early on is crucial.
We only have to look back to 2015 to see it’s possible for the Swiss team to get it right. Reliability early on, banked 14 points in one race, more than they scored in the season before and after.
Sauber must do the same again this year to guarantee their place in the midfield and the financial and emotional reward that come from the position.