Sauber has made a step forward - Kobayashi
Kamui Kobayashi is confident Sauber has made a good step forward with its latest update, but is aware its rivals will also have made progress since Bahrain.
Sauber made a strong start to the season, scoring 30 points at the first two races, and at this week's Mugello test brought a "major upgrade" to the C31 with a new front wing and new bodywork, including a different exhaust exit and a new diffuser. Kobayashi is hoping the team's hard work will pay off at the next grand prix in Barcelona.
"At the Mugello test I definitely had the feeling our new update to the car is a step forward for us," Kobayashi said. "This is good, of course, but only at the Barcelona circuit will we be able to tell how much of an improvement it really is. Not only because testing never allows for proper comparisons to the competition, but also because the Circuit de Catalunya is special. It has everything - fast corners, medium speed corners and slow corners. Although everybody knows that track so well, it is very difficult to get the set up right there.
"But, in turn, if you really manage to get it right there this normally means the car can be fast on other circuits as well. It will be a challenging weekend for us drivers as well as for the car and the engineers, and I am very much looking forward to going racing again."
Sauber's head of track engineering, Giampaolo Dall'Ara, is expecting an interesting race at the Spanish Grand Prix as it will be the first this season with two steps between Pirelli's chosen compounds.
"Pirelli will provide us with the soft and the hard tyre," he said. "It's the first time this year that there are two steps between the tyre compounds, which makes it interesting. We expect the soft one to be good in qualifying, while the hard compound should be strong in the race. The limiting factor is the wear on the front axle. However, at the same time the track characteristics stress the rear tyres, therefore the challenge will be to find the best compromise for the set-up of the car."