Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Sepang, 2013

Hulkenberg unhappy with Sauber performance

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Sepang, 2013Nico Hulkenberg says Sauber are dissatisfied with the performance of their C32.

“Yeah, well, sure both the team and I aren?t very happy with the recent performance of the car,” he said ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. “We know we have to improve and we understand the issue, we?ve identified it but fixing it is now the challenge and it’s up to us.”

“We have some new parts here, some developments which hopefully are going to put us in the right direction but we have work in front of us for sure, yeah. But in the three weeks we have made some progress, for sure.”

Hulkenberg made his displeasure with the car plain at the end of the Malaysian Grand Prix. After finishing eighth he told the team on the radio: “I think not such a bad job but I can’t tell you, I don’t know where to start with so many things to improve.”

“I don’t have to explain about the radio, I think,” he added, “that is unacceptable, unbelievable.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Hulkenberg unhappy with Sauber performance”

  1. It seems like their situation is a bit similar to McLaren. Maybe they should pull the C31 back out of retirement?

  2. This year’s Force India is very good. I think Hulk should be quite disappointing now since he could have been FI driver if he wanted.`

    1. Yeah but their are so may rumors about financial woes it doesn’t seem like a stable environment. I think moving to Sauber might be the best thing for him. If massa gets booted out at the end of this year it’s either going to be him or Bianchi.

      1. *Yeah but there are so may rumors about financial woes it doesn’t seem like a stable environment.*


  3. I thought his move to Sauber was a terrible idea, and I was right. Moving around the midfield is pointless and dangerous, with there being no guarantee that his car would be better. It also means that now he’s up against an unproven rookie, who he’s expected to beat, so it adds nothing to reputation if he does, but if he’d stayed at Force India and beaten the very solid Di Resta again, it would have better for his reputation. This years FI is a very good car, Hulkenberg must feel terrible, but I don’t feel sorry for him, as much as I like him, it was his decision to leave, not Force India’s.

    1. The Force India is being flattered by the Mclaren and Williams early season wobble. I think both these teams will show better in China and by Barcelona will be well ahead of Force India.

      1. Sauber will also improve and I think Hulkendberg was well advised to move there given their upward curve the last couple of years and it also manoevres him nicely into contention for the Ferrari seat should it be vacated.

      2. I think another thing is Force India have worked a lot on setup during the pre-season, so its well possible that gives them a bit of an advantage early in the season. But I expect they will run out of steam by about the middle of the year, for lack of upgrade potential.

      3. In the past few years, FI was able to bring more efficient updates to their cars through the season compared to any other midfield teams (including Williams and Sauber). With a good car at the start of the season, I am guessing that they will be easily able to stay ahead of the other midfield teams.

    2. BradandCoffee
      11th April 2013, 12:36

      I have to disagree. Not only are Force India’s financial troubles very unsettling (I believe VJ had a warrant for his arrest around the time Hulk signed with Sauber), but the Sauber team also has an extremely impressive track record for advancing drivers to better teams. I think top teams are more likely to trust Peter Sauber’s judgement about young drivers than just about anyone else.

      There have only been two races so far. Nothing is settled yet.

  4. Has anyone found any more context to the radio complaint…

    1. I think German AMuS dug up that it was just being very much unimpressed with their progress with the car.

      1. There were communication problems due to glitches, these glitches were caused by human error.

  5. I think this is one of the best things about Sauber: their drivers are entitled to speak their minds. If there are problems with the car, then they can say so rather than pretending that everything is perfect. When Vitaly Petrov criticised the Renault R31 after the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he was forced to make an apology to the team for it (and his comments arguably led to his dismissal). It was an absolute farce, because the R31 was a dog of a car by then – and it was obvious to everyone – but Petrov was instead forced to toe the party line and behave as if there was nothing particularly wrong with the car. But here, Nico Hulkenberg has a free rein to speak his mind about the car’s performance; Sauber evidently respect their drivers enough to let them call for change when change is needed, and that no doubt translates into the drivers respecting the team all the more. It’s little wonder they build such strong relationships with their drivers.

    1. I’m not sure whether it’s a Sauber thing or not, but I remember during the Sky coverage of the Barcelona tests, when they had Hulkenburg up in the commentary box, they mentioned afterwards about him not having a PR representative with him. Not sure if it’s the same thing, but it does seem that they give their drivers respect.

  6. I dont understand Hulkenberg’s quote at the end: what exactly is unacceptable, unbelievable? The radio he issued or the fact that the car is bad?

    1. @andrewf1

      That’s what he said on the radio, about the radio. I haven’t heard exactly what he was complaining about, I guess it wasn’t working properly during the race…hopefully someone can shed some light, I’ve been wondering about this myself

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