Sauber unveils new C33
Sauber has unveiled its 2014 car, the C33, which will be driven by Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez in this year's championship.
It is the third Formula One car to be officially launched this year and pictures show another odd looking front end to satisfy safety regulations regarding the height of the nose. The car is powered by Ferrari's new V6 turbo and energy recovery system and will hit the track for the first time in Jerez on Tuesday.
- Launches these days come in all shapes and sizes but glitzy high-profile - and expensive - unveilings are becoming a thing of the past. With budgets these days increasingly limited and most teams needing to account for every penny, online launches are becoming more frequent.
In theory that works well. It costs almost nothing to stage, you can control the 'message' and, importantly, there is no need to invite anyone from the media with their irritating questions.
In this day and age that actually makes sense. Everyone gets treated the same and everyone gets the information at the same time in the same format.
Only too often teams that can run a highly sophisticated car cannot manage the same levels of efficiency with their own websites. Several launches have resulted in websites not being able to cope with the sudden surge in traffic (and we are not talking a big volume here either) and crashing - cue unhappy fans and journalists.
While those two groups might not be seen as the be all and end all, a non-functioning website also means unhappy sponsors and that is more of an issue for the teams' bean counters.
Online launches are here to stay. You have to hope they just get a bit slicker.
"The radical changes to the technical regulations for 2014 mean that it's even harder than usual to make predictions for the new season," chief designer Eric Gandelin said. "We know what kind of package we've put together here, and we are happy with what we achieved, but it is difficult to foresee what shape our rivals are in.
"The earliest opportunity to gain an impression of where the teams are in relation to one another will come during testing. The path we have followed with the design of the Sauber C33-Ferrari allows us maximum flexibility, so that we can react quickly. It is also clear that reliability will be an important factor in the first few races in particular. So this is an area which we have given very high priority."
Sauber is hoping to rack up some mileage on the C33 in Jerez but additional performance parts will come ahead of the start of the season.
"On the one hand this gives us time to maximise the development of these performance relevant parts," Gandelin explained. "On the other hand we can run the car during the first test and check all the systems, which we feel is crucial, considering all the technical changes."
After a poor start to 2013, Sauber improved in the second half of the season, but team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was cautious about making predictions for the coming season.
"We have put a very challenging year behind us," she said. "The first half of 2013 in particular was difficult for us, but the second half saw us making significant strides. We learnt a great deal during this time and will be applying the lessons in the new season.
"Due to the radical changes in the technical regulations [for 2014], predictions are simply impossible to make at this stage. Even more so than in previous years, any impression of how the teams stand against each other will only emerge once winter testing has been completed. That is also when we will announce our goals for the 2014 season. One thing's for sure: reliability will be of the essence, especially at the beginning of the season."