Monisha Kaltenborn is confident Sauber can maintain their run of form in Japan
Team boss buoyed by Hulkenberg's strong performance in Korea
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 09/10/13 3:17pm
Nico Hulkenberg: Brought the potential out
Monisha Kaltenborn is confident Sauber can maintain their performance upswing at the Japanese Grand Prix, in the wake of Nico Hulkenberg's fine showing in Korea.
Hulkenberg produced arguably the drive of the day at the Korea International Circuit to finish in fourth place - the German making good use of his car's straightline speed and traction to keep Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at bay.
Also in pursuit was Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who Hulkenberg had fended off in similar fashion to finish fifth in the Italian Grand Prix last month.
"It's difficult to compare because they're very different tracks and the competition is also different on those tracks," Kaltenborn said of the German's latest rearguard action. "He showed a great fight with a car which has definitely become more competitive, but of course is not at a level of the top cars.
"For me, it shows how well everything is working together because you need a driver who can bring the potential out and a car which gives him that opportunity."
Sauber had a very strong weekend in Japan last year, when home hero Kamui Kobayashi finished on the podium to rapturous acclaim. While Katenborn is not anticipating a similar result this time around, she sees no reason why they cannot continue their recent run.
"We are going there with confidence but what we are able to do is very difficult to assess right now," she said. "Last year, we were in a very different situation where our competitiveness was concerned.
"We now, of course, have this positive trend, we're taking this along, so I think we should still remain realistic, try our best and see where we come."
As for the future of Hulkenberg, who has been linked with a number of teams - principally Lotus - and who seems to have the habit of placing himself in the 'shop window' at the right time, Kaltenborn was noncommittal.
"I'm confident that what I want for the team we will get. We know our strengths; we know the drivers' strengths who are out there. So we will announce in due course," she added.