Sauber: F1 ‘better than ever’
(CNN) — Peter Sauber believes Formula One fans have never had it so good, after a season opening which has seen the first seven races produce seven different winners for the first time in the sport’s history.
His Sauber team have also enjoyed a promising start, with Mexican driver Sergio Perez securing his second podium finish of 2012 at this month’s Canadian Grand Prix.
After Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel cruised to the drivers’ and constructors’ titles last year, the 68-year-old is pleased to see a wider variety of drivers taking the checkered flag.
“As far as I can see it’s just a handful of people in the paddock who can’t get used to not knowing by Friday who’s going to win on Sunday,” Sauber told F1′s official website.
“I think the fans see it in a completely different light. They’re delighted with the unpredictability, the sheer variety and the unbelievably close competition.
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“I’ve been in Formula One for 20 years now and for me it’s never been better or more exciting. That’s partly down to Pirelli, who are supplying the tires for this show.”
Many drivers have struggled to tame the rapidly degrading rubber, but Perez, competing in only his second F1 season, has drawn plaudits for his ability master Pirelli’s tires.
The 22-year-old produced another impressive drive to finish third in Montreal as he battled against the odds.
“Sergio had started from 15th on the grid, so you wouldn’t normally be contemplating a podium place — you’d be happy just to get into the points,” Sauber said.
“But once the front-runners began to develop problems with their tires towards the end of the race, it became clear that something very special could be unfolding.
“Sergio was not affected by these tire problems and was able to continue his all-out offensive right to the end. He drove an extraordinary race.”
The Swiss marque have already collected 58 points through Perez and his Japanese teammate Kamui Kobayashi — 14 more than the team managed in the entire 2011 season.
Sauber hopes to build on the encouraging start his team has made at the next race, the European Grand Prix in Valencia on June 24., and he believes more podium finishes are possible.
“If we manage to exploit our full potential as a team, in other words get everything right from Friday morning to Sunday evening, a great deal is possible.,” he said. “After seven races it is patently clear that the C31 (Sauber’s car) can be fast on virtually any kind of track.
“After seven races with seven different winners, so much seems possible. In Malaysia we came very close to winning. Further podium places certainly seem a realistic prospect.”