It is not getting widespread attention, but a big battle is brewing between Sauber and Toro Rosso.
Benefitting from the Pirelli tyre construction switch, and having reverted to last year’s exhaust solution, Sauber has caught Toro Rosso in the constructors’ championship. The pair are now level-pegging with 31 points apiece for seventh in the constructors’ world championship, which is worth several million dollars more than eighth under the financial arrangement with Bernie Ecclestone.
Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost told the Swiss newspaper Blick: “Sauber should not celebrate too soon. We made too many mistakes in the last race.” He acknowledged, however, that Korea was also the scene of a standout drive for Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, who Tost says is “an exceptional talent”. But Tost said Toro Rosso still has the edge. “For driving skills, we are better positioned with Ricciardo and Vergne,” he insisted. “Just because of (Sauber’s Esteban) Gutierrez.”
Another factor is that Sauber may be fully stretched in terms of its limited budget when it comes to further improving the 2013 car. Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn admitted to Speed Week that the Hinwil based team is already “a little behind schedule” with the 2014 car, because of Sauber’s recent financial troubles.