Sauber launches new car and driver pairing: “Onwards and upwards”
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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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

i actually also like it, better then the last years



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.


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.


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?


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.


“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 …


Peter Pure?


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


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


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.


Ferrari F2007 was my favourite looking car


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 !


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.

Bring Back Murray

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.


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


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!


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


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.


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


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


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.

Warren Groenewald

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.


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

Scuderia McLaren

My thoughts exactly!

Tornillo Amarillo

Think twice.

Scuderia McLaren

My thoughs exactly!


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.


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!


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


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…


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.


Perez was never leading…


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


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.


+1, & +10 for beating the censors!




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


Very impressive! Indeed.


Now that’s a handsome racing car!!


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


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


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!


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.


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.


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’!


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…


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.



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.


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.


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!



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


Yes its behind the nose bump.


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


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?

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