The season started strongly for Sauber, with a 14-point haul from the opening round, but the Swiss team have added just eight to their tally since then. However, fresh from the summer shutdown, they are now hoping to turn things around in the second half of the campaign.
“[We are] looking forward to stronger performances thanks to a number of upgrades that will be progressively introduced,” explained head of track engineering, Giampaolo Dall’Ara. “At Spa both C34 will be fitted with more powerful Ferrari power units and track specific wings.
“Traction and braking, although, as usual, important, are second to stability and reactiveness, therefore rather specific set-ups are being worked out.”
Like all his colleagues on the grid, Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson loves the Belgian track and the Swede – who finished 17th for Caterham in his first Grand Prix at Spa last year – is optimistic for the 2015 event in light of his team’s car updates.
“In comparison to other circuits, the track is quite long with some interesting corners and long straights,” he commented. “Engine power is the crucial factor, which fits well with our engine update.”
Team mate Felipe Nasr, making his first F1 appearance in Belgium, is another fan of the famed Ardennes venue, though he is reserving judgement on the revised Sauber until he has sampled the car on track.
“Spa is my favourite circuit on the calendar,” said the Brazilian. “The track is unique, having a lot of high-speed corners and a great corner combination. We do have our engine update there, but, as we haven’t run it yet, we don’t know what it is going to be like. We are all looking forward to it and hope this will be a benefit for us.”
Sauber will not be the only team benefitting from engine upgrades this weekend. Honda are understood to be supplying McLaren with an updated version of their power unit for the Belgian round.