Sauber shows new pods, drivers
SAUBER SHOWS 2013 ASSETS: Sauber F1's Nico Hulkenberg (left) and Esteban Gutierrez with a C32-Ferrari race car they'll drive in the 2013 Formula 1 season. The car and drivers were shown in Switzerland on Feb 2 2013. Image: AFP
Author: BRIAN HOMEWOOD
HINWIL, Switzerland - Sauber F1 has unveiled a new-look car with slimmer side pods and new drivers but declined to say if it could improve on 2012's sixth in the Constructors' championship.
The new Sauber C32-Ferrari shown on Saturday (Feb 2 2013) is visually very different to its predecessor; there's a smooth, slightly downward-sloping, nose section and much slimmer side pods.
Chief designer Matt Morris told those at the unveiling on an industrial estate near Zurich: "The C31 was an extremely competitive car with many strengths. Our aim was to improve these strengths and eliminate its few weaknesses."
The pods, which give the car a distinctive look, were the major change. Morris added: "The airflow in this area has a major influence over everything that happens at the rear of the car."
Tyre management had also been improved and overall weight reduced.
"Our car looked after its tyres very well during 2012," he claimed, "but we had problems when it came to getting the maximum out of them in qualifying. We've made the required adjustments."
The reduced weight, he explained, allowed better ballast distribution while retaining structural requirements and mechanical set-up flexibility.
"My colleagues have done an excellent job - we've even exceeded our original targets."
The car will get its first run at Jerez in Spain on Tuesday Feb 5, 2013).
Germany Nico Hulkenberg, transferred from Force India with two F1 seasons behind him, will team with Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez who is only 21. Dutchman Robin Frijns will be test and reserve driver.
Sauber took four podium finishes and 126 points in 2012, 44 the previous year, though the team was somewhat inconsistent.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: "We're not saying we want to finish in this or that position in the standings - other factors outside our control will come into play. We can be clear, however, that we want to continue our upward curve.
"We've had our eyes on Nico Hulkenberg for some time and been impressed by his performances. He's very quick but, most importantly, he's also very efficient. He understands how to pick up as many points as possible from a race situation.
"I'm in no doubt Esteban is now ready to put his outstanding talent on display."
Hulkenberg, 11th in 2012, told reporters: "Sauber made significant progress from 2011. The team is ready to take the next step and I want to play my part in making that happen.
"My personal aim is to put in a good, steady performance."