The struggles continue this season for Sauber and its drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.
While the Swiss outfit’s financial hardship has seen no signs of improvement, out on the race track the team’s plight is hardly any different.
Sauber’s afternoon in Monte-Carlo ended in the worst possible way when Nasr and Ericsson collided on lap 47, taking each other out in the process.
As both drivers were lingering back at the tail end of the field, Nasr was asked by his pit wall to move over and let his team mate through.
Facing the Brazilian’s reluctance, the Swede took matters into his own hands and attempted to force his way through Rascasse, a move which resulted in a terminating clash between the two drivers.
” There were such tricky conditions for everyone,” explained Nasr.
“When it goes wet to dry, there’s only one racing line for everyone. It was really difficult to overtake out on the track in all conditions out there.
“All I can say is that, today, I had to race with an old spec engine, starting from the pitlane, and my race was going really well. But when the leaders came through to lap me, I just kept getting blue flags for 3 or laps and I lost tyre temperature.
“Then having some engine problems too and trying to diagnose problems from inside the car. There was a misfire, and that doesn’t help. Once I got it cleared and got my temperatures back, I caught Grosjean and I was right behind him when Ericsson tried to overtake me and we crashed at La Rascasse.”
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Initially, given his improved race pace, Nasr felt the call by the Sauber pit wall was not justified.
“Marcus and I were on different strategies, so his second pit stop was earlier than mine. My tyres started to get up to temperature, and I was catching the cars in front. For me it was not the right timing to swap positions.
“I tried to explain to the team, I said “Guys”… They could see the data, they could see the problems I was having on the engine side.
“Once the problems and blue flags were clear, the pace was there and I was clearly catching the cars ahead. There was no reason to swap positions at that place. I got the message, but I didn’t feel it was the right time to do it.
Confronted later with the anger and ire of team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, who gave both drivers a piece of her determined mind, Nasr had no alternative but to reflect and apologize for the disastrous mishap.
“It is surely disappointing for everyone as the whole team works very hard. I apologise for what happened. We need to make sure that this will never happen again.”
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