Sauber launch 2013 F1 car
“Two thousand and twelve was a very successful year for us,” said Monisha Kaltenborn, looking ahead to the new season. “We not only moved up from seventh to sixth place in the constructors’ standings, but also improved our points total from 44 in 2011 to 126 last season. We have a strong platform in place now, on which we are aiming to build and continue our upward curve.”
The Team Principal is bullish about the prospects for the team’s new driver pairing: “We have had our eye on Nico Hulkenberg for some time and have been impressed by his performances. He is very quick, but, most importantly, he’s also very efficient. He understands how to pick up as many points as possible from a particular race situation. Esteban Gutierrez is a driver we know very well as a result of a relationship with the team going back several years, and he has already had a number of opportunities to test with our car. Plus, he has always stayed in close contact with our engineers, which has allowed him to learn a lot about Formula One. I’m in no doubt he is now ready to take the final step and put his outstanding talent on display.”
Hulkenberg is entering his third F1 season in a race seat. The German spent 2010 – his rookie year – with Williams and 2012 at the wheel of a Force India car. “The Sauber F1 Team made significant progress last year from 2011,” the German driver recognized. “Now 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 this season.”
Gutierrez won the GP3 Championship with something to spare in 2010. He promptly made the move up to GP2 and finished third in last year’s standings. Now the Mexican is focused on the future: “I’m really looking forward to my first season in Formula One. My long association with the Sauber F1 Team has given me the chance to understand the complexity of Formula One. But I also realize, of course, that I still have a huge amount to learn. I will be working flat out to adapt to the whole F1 environment as quickly as possible and, if things open up during races, I want to make sure I’m ready to take full advantage.”
Test and reserve driver Frijns (21) spent last year competing in the World Series by Renault – and crowned his season with the championship title. “I’m overjoyed that the Sauber F1 Team has given me this chance. I will do everything I can to support the team as effectively as possible and, at the same time, learn how things work in the professional world of Formula One,” said the Dutch youngster.
The three drivers and the new Sauber C32-Ferrari are set to make a fine combination.
The F1 technical regulations have barely changed going into the 2013 season and yet the new Sauber C32-Ferrari is a very different proposition visually from its predecessor – thanks to a smooth, slightly downward-sloping nose section and, principally, much slimmer sidepods.
“The C31 was an extremely competitive car with many strengths,” explained Matt Morris, the Sauber F1 Team’s Chief Designer. Our aim was to further improve these strengths and eliminate its few weaknesses.
The sidepods of the C32 are notably slimmer than the Formula One norm up to now and are responsible for giving the new car a very distinctive look. “The airflow in this area has a major influence over everything that happens at the rear of the car,” said Morris, offering a glimpse into the team’s thinking.
An extremely slim rear end was high up the engineers’ list of priorities. One of the key aspects here is the arrangement of the radiators, which is very different from that in the C31. A look at the rear end of the new car reveals the engineers’ rigorous approach to this area.
As before, the car’s KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), engine and gearbox are supplied by Ferrari. The KERS is based on last year’s version, but its weight and packaging volume have been optimized.
The rear axle is a totally new development. Although it still works according to the pullrod principle, its layout has been designed to better interact with the airflow around the rear of the car, while further improving the tire management.
There was also potential for improvement in how the tires are used in qualifying, as Morris explained: “Our car looked after its tires very well during races last year. However, we had problems now and again when it came to getting the maximum out of them in qualifying. We’ve looked at this phenomenon closely and made the required adjustments.”
Another high priority was reducing the car’s overall weight, to allow a better distribution of the ballast, while retaining its structural requirements and mechanical setup flexibility. “My colleagues have done an excellent job here, and we have even exceeded our original targets”, praised Morris.
Like last year, the Sauber F1 Team will use a basic version of the car for its rollout event and introduce a major update before the first race of the season.
“We have set ourselves lofty goals with the Sauber C32-Ferrari, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to meet them. The C31 gave us a very good basis, to which we’ve made further improvements. Our aim is to line up for 2013 with a car that is competitive from the first race, but which also offers extensive potential for further development,” summed up Morris.
Kaltenborn: “We’re on a good footing.
Four podium finishes and 126 World Championship points made the 2012 season a highly successful one for the Sauber F1 Team. It’s a performance the Swiss team is now looking to build on and thus continue on its upward curve. Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn gives her thoughts on the issues of the moment.
Ms Kaltenborn, in three days the Sauber C32-Ferrari will turn its first wheel out on the track. What are your feelings going into the roll-out?
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal Sauber F1 Team: “I’m very excited. The roll-out of a new car is a very special moment every year. It’s something you’ve been working towards for almost a year and then you get your first impressions of how good a job you’ve done. Everyone in the team is excited about this moment, because everyone has played their part in it.”
What are your expectations?
Kaltenborn: “This is another of those questions one is asked every year, and it’s always a tricky one to answer. What I can say is that we’re well prepared, that we’ve got the new car finished in good time and that we’ve met the performance targets we set ourselves internally. That puts us in a confident frame of mind. But we’ll only really find out what it all amounts to at the first race of the season in Melbourne.“
This is the first time you’re approaching a new season in the role of Team Principal. Is that a special situation for you?
Kaltenborn: “Yes and no. On the one hand, not that much has changed for me since I took on the role, because I was already involved
What are your aims for the forthcoming season?
Kaltenborn: “We put some good foundations in place last year. And now we want to build on that base and continue to improve as a team.”
What does that mean exactly? Are you targeting fifth place in the Constructors’ World Championship?
Kaltenborn: “We’re not saying we want to finish in this or that position in the standings, as ultimately other factors will also come into play that are outside our control. What we can be clear about, however, is that we want to continue on our upward curve.”
What do you expect from your drivers?
Kaltenborn: “Esteban Gutierrez’s relationship with the team goes back to 2010, and we have introduced him steadily to the world of Formula One. Now he is ready to take the final step. We expect him to learn quickly and turn his considerable talent into good results. Nico Hulkenberg has impressed us on many occasions, not only with his speed but, most importantly, by how efficiently he has driven. It is this level of efficiency that we hope to see this year again. And, of course, we expect him to contribute his technical experience. I’m in no doubt that we have a strong driver pairing in place. As for Robin Frijns, our test and reserve driver, this year is quite simply about learning as much as possible.”
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