Sauber launches new car and driver pairing: “Onwards and upwards”
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Sauber C32
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Feb 2013   |  2:52 pm GMT  |  92 comments

The Sauber team today unveiled its new car and two new drivers; Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez at a ceremony in Hinwil, Switzerland.

Sauber had a great year in 2012 and this will be an interesting year for them, with two new drivers to bed in, but a sound technical platform on which to build. Like other teams in the “squeezed middle” they will have to be careful to manage their limited resources, developing the 2013 car for a short while, but leaving enough capacity to make sure they produce a competitive car for 2014, when the rules will change significantly.

This is an expensive exercise and a team like Sauber will have to divert funds towards 2014 at the expense of 2013 as the year goes on. For this reason it is vital to start the season strongly and score points early on.

That said, Sauber have probably currently got the second best wind tunnel for F1 development, behind the Toyota tunnel. But of course they have their tunnel on site in Hinwil, which is a huge advantage. They also have a good CFD capability so aerodynamics-wise they are well placed to deliver a competive car.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn highlighted Hulkenberg’s ability to harvest points from most kind of situation as a real asset for the team and this will be particularly important with a rookie in the second car.

“Two thousand and twelve was a very successful year for us,” said Kaltenborn. “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 21-year-old Dutchman Robin Frijns comes in as reserve driver, but it looks like his chances to get behind the wheel will be limited.

Sauber had one of the best cars last year and was a real innovator in the area of the exhausts and the rear of the car, with many teams copying their early season ideas.

Like many cars released this last week, the launch specification of the car seems to have strong carry over from last year and new ideas are perhaps being kept under wraps until the later test sessions, but for the technical specification of the new car, here is Mark Gillan’s analysis:


Firstly last year’s Sauber was one of the best cars at being able to manage tyre temperatures and had a particularly interesting rear drum geometry which helped ensure that the rear tyres were maintained at a consistently cool temperature.

They were ahead of the game on this matter, relative to most other Teams, and it will be interesting once the testing starts to see what changes they have made in this region – can only be seen with the wheel off, which we should see in testing.


The front wing is a complete carry over at present with its distinctively large flat outboard footplate.

The nose has been updated and whilst the upper step has been washed out, outboard, they have retained a dished centre and on the lower surface of the nose forward of this dished centre they have added a bulge, probably for more froward aerobalance but it will be interesting to see more detailed photographs in this area. The under nose turning vanes remain.

The front brake duct concept remains unchanged. The nose cameras remain in their traditional location on the nose.


The side pods and turning vanes are all new this year and the side pods have a more progressive intake which should provide a better feed to all portions of the radiators. The split turning vane concept from last year has been evolved to now have a single vane that links the floor to the top of the side pod with the addition of a secondary strengthening arm.


The exhaust geometry appears very similar to last year as does the rear of the car and rear wing, although we will need to revisit this area once better pictures are available.

The suspension layout at the front looks similar. Roll hoop intake is very similar.

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92 Comments
  1. Sebee says:

    Best Sauber livery ever!

    Very Mercedaclarenish.

    1. The Catman says:

      My first thoughts on the livery too – very McLaren-esque.

      Hope it goes as well as it looks…

      TC

      1. Kay says:

        Looks more like HRT than McLaren to me

      2. The Catman says:

        Agree with what you are saying, it was more the livery I was thinking of

        TC

    2. Spyros says:

      Yes, it looks good but a bit thin on sponsors, isn’t it?

      1. petes says:

        New livery suits it; helps hide the lack of sponsors, if there is a lack. Sauber always was thin in that regard – couldn’t spot the Chelsea FC connection?

    3. Simmo says:

      I hate it. It looks like the 2010 HRT livery to me…

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Except the 2010 HRT was totally black.

      2. S2K says:

        You are right. It looks bad.

      3. Seán Craddock says:

        thank you! Exactly what I thought, not sure why people really like it!

      4. Wade Parmino says:

        The white with a little red livery was much better. There is too many silver cars now.

      5. Sebee says:

        It will test commentators. Silver is the most popular color on road cars.

      6. Alexyoong says:

        Ridiculous, it is the best looking car of the lot.

    4. Honkhonk says:

      That livery is gorgeous. Up there with Lotus on livery look for me..

    5. Gudien says:

      By all means, every car on the grid should be silver. Cue the ‘Mercedes power’ conspiracy theories once again, please.

  2. ramsa says:

    why does Gutierrez seem nervous… has he been brought in a bit to early… he seems to understate a bit to much … anyways they have demon driver in Nico to reflect the actual potential of the car …sad Kamui-Nico pairing would have been dynamite

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Or maybe Perez should have stayed with Sauber and Hulk gone to partner JB at Mclaren.

      1. Martin says:

        Or is Nico the favourite to partner Alonso in 2014?

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        and Kimi will rejoin mclaren… in 2014 I hope.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        In reply to Stephen, Kimi lost at least 1 WDC at Mclaren becuase of unreliability. Having witnessed Hamilton’s campaign last year, I doubt he’d be looking to hurry back there.
        Also, one of the things Kimi hates, more than anything, is sponsorship commitments. Something Mclaren probably require more than any other team

  3. Dren says:

    The sidepods are much slimmer than last year. They are especially slim up top. Quite an engineering feat in packaging.

  4. Scuderia McLaren says:

    Front on pics show the side pods are really, really tight. Not sure if it’s the colour but the whole car, especially the rear, looks really tight and small to me. Nice Swiss craftsmanship yet again.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Oh yeah, thought the scoop solution was pretty cool for the front nose also. Yet more unique Sauber thinking. Always wondered how good this team would be with a Red Bull / Ferrari type budget.

      1. iceman says:

        Yes that would be very interesting to see wouldn’t it! I think they would challenge Red Bull. They seem to be the only mid-field team who regularly come up with ideas that everyone else has to copy.

      2. Dave C says:

        They did have that sort of budget when BMW was in charge, the answer is they wasn’t good enough.

      3. Scuderia McLaren says:

        BMW took Sauber in 2006, which was a Sauber car. The first real efforts would show in the following year.

        They got 2nd in 2007 and 3rd in 2008 Constructors World Championship is not too bad. Kubica was leading the 2008 WDC after his breakthrough Canadian win also.

        They didnt adapt well to 2009 new regs, as many teams also did not. Ferrari, Williams and McLaren also had horrid season. Only the tricky Brawn with Double Decker Diffuser and the Newey RBR managed to hit the ground with respectable performance, more or less, maintaining it through year.

        2010 BMW exit with Toyota. GFC effects too much to cope with.

        So in reality, there were only two BMW.Saubers built with BMW money in an environment of stable rules. 2nd and 3rd was the WCC result and Kubica, if supported more, could have had a real tilt at WDC after 2008 Canada considering he was leading WDC. Erroneously, BMW moved all dev efforts to 2009.

  5. Veena says:

    Nice review James. As usual thanks for your awesome work.
    Are you planning to a similar tech review for Lotus?

  6. AuraF1 says:

    Well the trend for prettier cars continues. It may not be as exciting a grid starting in Melbourne but it sure will be easier on the eyes.

    Interesting if they’ve ditched their red bull beating rear concept and favored the mclaren approach as has been reported on a few sites.

    Like Williams, I think most people have a soft spot for sauber and hope this new car and driver line up do well. Be good to see them climb up to 5th spot if possible.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Interesting point about “soft spots”
      I am a life long Ferrari fan, and back in the 90′s and 00′s, I always had huge respect for Franks team, and for Jordan.
      Now that Jordan no longer exist, I enjoy seeing Sauber do well.
      Funny really, but when Williams were teamed with BMW, and subsequently Sauber, I found both organizations too arrogant and corporate. There’s an honesty about both teams that didn’t gel well with BMW

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Very true. I think it must be the idea of ‘independents’ – even though they’re still corporate in nature – being associated with a massive auto maker does take the shine off their ‘small but scrappy’ images. It was great seeing Williams take a win last year – the whole paddock seemed happy. I think the reaction would be the same for sauber (unless they are knocking Alonso off a win of course).

  7. Alex says:

    There doesn’t seem to be any prominent Chelsea signage on the car. Weren’t Chelsea and Sauber meant to be making an announcement around now about a development on the commercial side?

    1. dante says:

      The Chelsea emblem is on the top deck of the nose, behind the bump.

    2. BW says:

      There’s just no good picture of the area of Chelsea sign.

  8. Andrew Carter says:

    The pics here dont show it too well but other I’ve seen show the sidepods to be very narrow, apparently inspired by Perez crash at Monaco in 2011! It seems Sauber are very good at inovating in this area since they were the first team to introduce the undercut way back in the early 2000′s.

    It should be noted that despite the fact they have some of the best technical facilities in F1, they don’t have the personell numbers to make full use of them.

  9. goferet says:

    Oooo am liking the Sauber, it’s looking very fierce, I guess it’s the dark colours that give this impression kind of like Bat man’s car >>> Will sure stand up in the midfield pack.

    Yeah, looking forward to seeing what this Sauber partnership will come up with, it will be fascinating seeing the likes of Nico take on the likes of Maldonado in the midfield.

    Also I will be keen to see how the Sauber team perform under the stewardship of Monisha (the first woman team Principal) Yes, it’s true, women have a great knack for making the right decisions i.e. women’s intuition.

    1. Wanja says:

      “women have a great knack for making the right decisions”..

      Is Angela Merkel a man then?

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I once sold a Matt Grey Alfa Romeo Brera to a woman when I described the colour as Stealth.
      I told her it was designed along the lines of the Stealth Fighter which evades radar detection, so speed cameras were ineffective.
      Thankfully her husband saw the funny side of my comment..

  10. Christos Pallis says:

    James surely all teams would bring their side pods in as much as Sauber have if they could. It seems a very dramatic decrease in size compared to all other cars and indeed their own design from last year, how can they suddenly shrink it all down so much?

  11. JeremySmith says:

    Beautiful looking car..I hope it’s as fast as it looks…

  12. Sarvar says:

    James,

    Don’t they have Chelsea as a sponsor any more?

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Yes its behind the nose bump.

  13. Random 79 says:

    This is one nice looking car. Love the way they’ve handled the vanity panel for something a bit different – looks great – but I think with a silver Sauber, McLaren (and presumably Mercedes too) there’s going to be one or two confused commentators at times. Should be fun!

  14. Anthony Kulla says:

    So this car appears to be using the vanity panel, but they’ve chosen to make the interior concave to retain the step as an aero device. If there wasn’t a panel the step would be visible in profile, and it isn’t.

    1. mel_drew says:

      Is it a vanity panel? I thought they weren’t allowed to gain an aero advantage from the panel? Those side dams will certainly give an aero effect.

  15. Red Rider says:

    Here are the team standings from last year.

    1 Red Bull Racing-Renault 460
    2 Ferrari 400
    3 McLaren-Mercedes 378
    4 Lotus-Renault 303
    5 Mercedes 142
    6 Sauber-Ferrari 126
    7 Force India-Mercedes 109
    8 Williams-Renault 76
    9 STR-Ferrari 26
    10 Caterham-Renault 0
    11 Marussia-Cosworth 0
    12 HRT-Cosworth 0

    It will be hard for Sauber to do better than last year. Look at the teams above it. It’s amazing to see Williams down in eighth place. Nico seems like a good choice for Sauber. He finished all but two races last year and scored around twice as many points as di Resta. Di Resta retired only once. It would be exciting to see Nico next to Button instead of Sergio. He might have been faster than Jenson this year.

    Nico will harvest points for Sauber. I don’t know about his team mate though.

    1. Simmo says:

      He “scored around twice as many points as di Resta”??? What an exaggeration! He scored less than 140% of di Resta’s point tally. In what way is this “around double”?

      Now, I am not being nationalist here, and maybe Hulkenberg is better than di Resta, but seriously??

      That amount of points can often vary simply due to misfortune of others, safety cars, weather, pit stops. Okay, true, luck could have favoured di Resta and he was still beaten, but to make that exaggeration is over the top…

      1. Red Rider says:

        You’re right. My apologies.

        The actual points are 63 and 46 respectively. Where I went wrong is that when checking the scores I confused the two Nicos and Rosberg scored 93 points.

        Cheers.

    2. Aficion says:

      I think I’d have to agree. I can’t really see Sauber doing better this year. I don’t think they can do enough to really dent the top 5 teams, and there’s always the possibility that Williams or Force India will bang them about. Haha! Maybe that ‘Onwards and upwards’ quote should be ‘Status quo or losing ground’!

  16. Rein says:

    “Pole Position” for best looking car and livery, so far. In my opinion …

    1. Simmo says:

      Not in my opinion. I liked the 2012 black and white sections. This looks like the HRT of 2010 :(

      1. Random 79 says:

        It’s similar I guess, but the original HRT had one of the gungiest greys I have ever seen. This Sauber has a nice metallic shine.

        It’s all superficial at this point; they can paint bubblegum pink for all I care, as long as it goes fast!

      2. Simmo says:

        True, and like I said in regard to the stepped nose, as long as it is fast. But a livery does define the team’s identity in some ways.

  17. Gunner says:

    Now that’s a handsome racing car!!

  18. Andrew Freeman says:

    Very impressive! Indeed.

  19. Chris George says:

    I now it doesn’t count for anything but….that is a great looking racing car!

  20. Chris George says:

    “know”!!

  21. dean cassady says:

    For whatever reason, maybe because of my bent endearment to the underdog, I like Sauber; not just Peter Sauber, but the entire Sauber culture and tradition.

    I like the car.

    As can be found elsewhere, associated with the comments for previous launches this season, I believe these ‘launches’ to be about marketing, rather than actually displaying the focus of the teams’ fanatical developmental focus; and I would personally disqualify any team which brought all of their hard earned ‘goodies’ to the table, for their VERY aggressive and active and capable of copying competitors to assess.

    Nonetheless, I find I like this car better than any launched so far.
    Despite the fact that it was a fantastic achievement scoring as well as they did last year, I really have a feeling that the moment will never be better for Sauber; the car could in fact be genuinely competitive, not ‘somewhat competitive’ as it was last year.
    As a team able to incrementally develop their machinery, Sauber is second to none. With this unusual period of stability in regulations, we enter a potentially optimum environment for Sauber.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the driver line up has a lot to do to demonstrate that it is as good as last year’s phenomenal line up, there is a very real possibility that it could be better yet! For me that is saying a lot, because I believe that both of the 2012 Sauber drivers are world-champion potential; but Nico’s trajectory at the end of 2012 was the most impressive of the year, and probably for the past several years.

    While information for assessing the expected performance of Gutierrez is next to nothing, I yet remember the naming of Sergio Perez to drive for the team, at the same time, the word on the street was that he was merely a placeholder for Gutierrez!
    Someone wants to believe he has as much potential as anybody, and that person probably is one of the wealthiest men in the world, and likely very, very shrewd, to boot; a possible replacement for Bernie!?! WHo knows?

    The car does look good. And the management structure seems very solid; besides the totally predictable consequences of the radio message to Perez, leading Alonso (should have been a Perez victory, in my humble opinion), Kaltenborn has more than demonstrated top flight capabilities for someone in her role.
    Just remember, if your driver is currently experiencing the drive of his life, leading an F1 GP, then do NOT F(_)C|< with it! And you will probably in.

    1. Random 79 says:

      +1, & +10 for beating the censors!

    2. Andrew M says:

      Perez was never leading…

      1. ferggsa says:

        Yes he was, Alonso passed him because of Sauber´s cautious strategy and slower pit stops, and then they told him to take it easy, and then he messed up, but he was leading, as well as in Monza
        But don´t take my word read James report

      2. Andrew M says:

        You’re right, he was leaving briefly before he got passed by Alonso after the first pit stops, but he was in second when he got the radio message telling him to hold position. The above post implies he was leading and then Sauber told him to back off, which wasn’t the case.

  22. Ross McDougall says:

    James it says saubers wind tunnel is the next best after Toyotas. How good is redbulls or do they rely a lot on Adrian neweys visilisation. Why with all the money in F1 do they only have wind tunnels that are only 50 or 60 percent scale why not 100 percent as surely this would give better data.

    1. Brad says:

      My guess, it would be too costly. Also, Why set up a car for the windtunnel to get data and no driver actually drives it if the data comes back incorrect…

    2. Heinzman says:

      I think it’s in the regulations, full size is not allowed

    3. Random 79 says:

      It’s in the regulations somewhere: 60% is the maximum they can use, and it is to reduce costs as was part of the RRA.

      1:1 models would seem to make more sense, but I’m sure it doesn’t make much difference in the end – assuming the tunnel works in the first place!

      As for Newey, last I heard he still designs the cars paper, which is part of the reason people call him a genius.

      1. Random 79 says:

        I mean he designs the cars ON paper, but if there’s any paper in a modern F1 car I’m sure he designs that too!

    4. Wade Parmino says:

      I think the rules only allow a maximum of 60% of full scale. And Adrian Newey is good but not THAT good. :)

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        My thoughs exactly!

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        My thoughts exactly!

      3. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Think twice.

    5. Tyler says:

      Regulations don’t permit the teams to go beyond a maximum of 60% scale in their wind tunnels. It’s a cost control measure.

      1. Wanja says:

        And as such it’s a failed approach, as 60% models require extra tires for the wind tunnel, which are pretty expensive to create and they require that a team builds two moulds for every part that makes it onto the car (thanks to CFD that rate is very high) and it means that the teams have to constantly work on the correlation between the 60% and the 100% models, which is very expensive.

      2. Warren Groenewald says:

        Even if they do use actual tires, they’d only need one set and I’m fairly sure Pirelli are happy so supply a 60% scale set to each team.

        Also, I don’t believe they create the parts from carbon fiber. I remember watching a show where they have specific prototyping machines that mill the new parts from foam, much like the ones used in production car development. Prototype parts can be made exceptionally quickly to any scale.

        The biggest cost is operating a full scale wind tunnel. They draw an enormous amount of power.

    6. Stephen Taylor says:

      Can’r be that good couldn’t help Bugatti when they built the Veyron.

  23. Rishi says:

    Clearly Sauber are still disappointed to have let Sergio Perez go. The colourscheme is the key innovation here – and has been created in the hope of luring ‘Checo’ back to the Sauber garage by confusing him into thinking it is, in fact, a McLaren!

    No doubt he’ll see the error of his ways eventually, but maybe they are banking on him sneaking a podium or two with that new McLaren mentality before he does so.

    P.S. Yes, I know, the shade of grey on the Sauber does look different from the McLarens. But it is still grey/chrome and consequently looks more like one than last year’s car did!

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Think Perez might regret leaving them (Sauber) at the end of the year

  24. tim says:

    I bet all teams are envious of this car. Sauber is becoming my fave. Innovative rather than conservative. Hello, Ferrari, are you watching?

  25. Bring Back Murray says:

    Be nice to see Sauber break free of the midfield and get close to the pace of the top teams. Still if they don’t at least they’ve got a nice looking car anyway.

  26. Luis Diaz says:

    The nose looks to me kind of like the solution of the redbull 2012. While the in the back they have a better understanding of it.

  27. Elie says:

    Yeah have to agree with most- very smart looking car. I actually don’t mind the colour scheme- it looks very Mclaren like!. if its tyre management is similar to last year it will again do very well in the races especially with Nico in the drivers seat, but the other teams aren’t sitting around waiting- it’s going to be a very busy mid field !

  28. Angus says:

    I think this is the best looking Sauber car for years in terms of the livery. It is nothing like the Maclaren, their car is silver, this car is grey! If you look at the Sauber merchandise, even fron last year, the colours are clearly grey with the white and red highlighting. They are not trying to look like a Maclaren, they are, as they always do, staying true to themselves. This is what makes them a great team, and my favourite.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Ferrari F2007 was my favourite looking car

  29. Lee says:

    They must be concerned at the lack of new sponsors. Pounds usually mean prizes, or euros in this case!

  30. olivier says:

    “Sauber” means “Pure” in German.

    I was expecting a pale whiteblue metallic. Like a breath of fresh air. It would’ve looked stunning with Red and White details.

    Instead we got a dull grey 2010 HRT inspired livery …

    1. Random 79 says:

      Peter Pure?

      1. Jim says:

        Peter Perfect? Should’ve hung on for 2014 and called the car the “Turbo Terrific” ;-)

  31. David says:

    It’s a shame Sauber got rid of Koboyashi. I’ve always liked Sauber, and hope they do well – the new car looks great, but I probably won’t pay as much attention to the team without such an exciting driver.

  32. Desmond says:

    The Sauber car looks great, the sidepods are interesting. They look like quite narrow and beg the question: will they provide enough cooling?

    All the teams that have revealed their car so far have fitted vertical aerofoils to the sidepods – is this a matter of regulation, only it seems like quite a conicidence?

  33. Dan says:

    Well there is the saying “If it looks right, it is right” and this looks very right. Here’s hoping for a great season from a small team who are willing to try something special.

    1. Jb says:

      That is a very good way to describe it. When i first saw the design, it really looked like Sauber wanted to make a breakthough rather than just an evolutionary adjustment.
      The outcome is this beautifully shaped car. Watch out! This may be the surprise at the start of the year.

      Usually the best looking car is the fastest. It is the same with mother nature, the most beautiful sleek looking animals are the fastest.

  34. CJD says:

    i actually also like it, better then the last years

    greetings

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