Sauber have launched their first independent F1 car since 2005 today, the team took the covers off their new car known as the C29 in a low-key ceremony in Valencia.
The car retains a BMW Sauber style paint job with a majority white finish and bits of navy and a tiny streak of red, but so far the team possesses no sponsors of note. Hopefully this will change before the season opener in Bahrain in 6 weeks time. Another thing which we hope will change is the name, at the moment the team are still known as BMW Sauber F1, but I’m sure Peter Sauber, and Ferrari their engine supplier would like that name adjusted.
The car features an uncharacteristically high nose, but once again it is a long one – clearly a 2010 common feature. the car has a beautifully sculpted rear, and features a shark-fin wing like the one on the McLaren albeit a little shorter. The Sauber is probably, in my mind, the most visually pleasing of the 2010 cars so far, but it remains to be seen whether it will be fast.
Willy Rampf, technical director was bouyant.
“The development of the BMW Sauber C29 has seen the team build on the experience gained last year and the improvement in performance over the final third of the season. However, the new regulations banning refuelling during the race and stipulating a reduced width for the front tyres have required significant changes to the car’s design.”
Owner Peter Sauber was happy with progress, admitting it has been a frantic chase to the grid.
“The last few months have been very intense for us,” said Sauber. “First we had to battle to secure the survival of the team and then we focused on putting a strong set-up in place for the future.
“The technical preparation of the 2010 car has continued uninterrupted and according to plan since the spring of 2009, despite all the turmoil. We have a long tradition of bringing together an up-and-coming youngster and an experienced campaigner as a driver combination – and it’s an approach that has brought us a lot of success.”
The drivers for 2010 are talented rookie Kamui Kobayashi, and 38 year old perennial McLaren test driver Pedro de La Rosa who says he never expected to get another shot at racing.
“At last I can feel like a proper racing driver again,” he said. “I’ve really missed the competition out on the track. At the same time, though, I’ve learned a lot technically and on the systems side, and now I want to bring that knowledge to the team.”
The car will be on track testing from tomorrow, along with most of the other teams in Valencia. Renault launch their new car, the R30 this afternoon.