The Ferrari-powered C33 was unveiled online today. Sutil previously raced for Force India but decided that he needed a change, making the first team move of his F1 career. With the first pre-season test just around the corner, he is excited to get back to driving after some time off over the winter – where his main priority has been to lose weight.
“We are now at the end of January and we are close to the first test, I’m very excited to see how it will be, because no one really knows what the car is going to be like to drive on a circuit,” he said. “There is a new era now with new engines and new cars. So I’m really excited and looking forward to stepping into a real new race car with a new team.”
He was fortunate enough to start his 2014 preparations early thanks to the confirmation of his switch to Sauber in December. “I’ve spent a lot of time here in the factory – as much as possible,” he added. “And it was good to start quite early and to be announced mid-December. That’s early enough to prepare and there are a lot of things to go through, especially with a new team and new people; I have to remember all the new faces. And there still is a lot of work to do. The preparation is going well, the seat fitting was fine, I feel comfortable and am ready to roll out for the first test.”
Realistically, the 31-year-old is aiming to beat his previous best finish in the drivers’ standings. “I always try to improve. My best season was 2011, I finished ninth in the championship, so my realistic target would be to be better than ninth,” Sutil explained. “But it’s very early and it’s always hard to make any predictions for the season. So let’s see what will happen. We have a lot of work to do and I’m confident. We want to maximise our package as a team and that’s the most important thing.”
The 2014 regulations are dramatically different, meaning no driver has a certain advantage or disadvantage going into the year: “It’s always difficult to step into a new car at the beginning. Of course you need time to adapt yourself. But this year it’s a completely new car for everyone.
“So there is no advantage for some drivers or disadvantage for the others. Therefore I think to also change team right now is probably not a bad thing to do, because you don’t have the disadvantage to the other drivers, as everyone is in the same boat right now. No one knows how it is going to be, so I’m on the same level as the others.”
He will race with the number 99, the highest of all 22 drivers on the grid, for the remainder of his F1 career and will partner Esteban Gutierrez, who he is looking forward to working with this season.
Image courtesy of Sauber F1 Team