Sauber drivers to start Canadian GP from pitlane

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Sauber has pulled both its cars out of parc fermé ahead of this afternoon’s Canadian Grand Prix, which means that Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu will start their race from the pitlane.

The pair qualified respectively P17 and P20 in Saturday’s session, leaving Sauber with little to lose by implementing changes on both of its C44 contenders, with the team fitting an older-spec rear wing on its cars.

In a bid to optimize its machine’s performance on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s long straights, Sauber introduced a new rear wing this weekend that featured a reduced flap and a redesigned main plane to achieve lower drag.

The package also included a different beam wing, but after initial evaluation, and perhaps in preparation for a wet race, the Swiss team opted to revert to their previous design.

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Meanwhile, Bottas also encountered power unit issues that compelled Sauber to add a third energy store and a third control electronics element to the Finn’s pool of hardware.

This exceeds the FIA's regulation limiting teams to two of each component for the entire season. While this transgression would typically incur a grid penalty, Bottas will already be starting from the pit lane due to the aforementioned rear wing changes by Sauber.

The team’s pitlane start means that Haas Nico Hulkenberg and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon will close out the grid in 17th and 18th position.

"Qualifying confirms that we are lacking performance in the single lap," commented Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

"We have already seen in the last races that our main competitors took a step forward, pushing us to the bottom of the midfield in terms of qualifying pace.

"The race will be once again difficult for us, and we must maximise every opportunity that may arise.

"We have previously shown that we can deliver a better race pace, but we can’t hide the fact that it’s another difficult weekend for us. Still, we’ll do our best to improve our position.”

Sauber’s significant underperformance this season has left the Swiss outfit dead last in F1’s Constructors’ standings with zero points on its score card.

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