The German driver expects the excitement level to be “extremely high” in Australia and believes the new cars will be very different to drive in qualifying and the race. Sutil moved to the Sauber team from Force India over the winter.
“Melbourne is always a great place for the first race of the season. I am looking forward to it,” he said. “The city is beautiful and the track always good for a surprise. The weather plays a role there as well, as a bit of rain is likely. In addition, we have the new cars, which are still at a very early development stage. Everything is new. Driving in qualifying will be very different to the race, because the cars will have more power than in the race.
“Less downforce and more power will be a challenge for us drivers. Higher top-speed and less grip on a street circuit like Melbourne will be exciting. Also the 100 kg of fuel will see nervous faces on the pit walls. We were able to gain experience regarding the fuel management during testing, but over a race distance everything has to come together flawlessly. It will be a lottery as to who will finish the race in front, and the excitement will be extremely high.”
The Albert Park Circuit holds special memories for his team-mate Esteban Gutierrez, who made his F1 debut at the track last year. “We are returning to Albert Park, and it’s a new era for Formula One,” said the Mexican. “This is an opportunity for everyone, and it’s my role to extract the most out of the tools I’m given by the team.
“It has been challenging to adapt to the new cars and rules, but now we come to the first race and everything has to settle down. The track is a bit bumpy, because it’s a street circuit, but I like the layout and enjoy driving there a lot. I like Australia, it’s a nice place, and I usually arrive a few days earlier to enjoy the city. The fans are also very enthusiastic every year – it’s a great event.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic