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New Sauber ready to run 13 Jan 2005

The new Sauber C24. © Sauber

Sauber have released pictures of their 2005 car, the C24, ahead of its official test debt at Valencia on Friday. Felipe Massa is due to put the machine through its initial paces, with team mate Jacques Villeneuve getting his first taste on Sunday.

Revised regulations for 2005 have resulted in a marked reduction in available downforce, presenting designers with the challenge of finding ways to offset the deficit.

"Of course, this has made us focus special attention on aerodynamics," said Sauber technical director Willy Rampf. "Our experience with the C23 had clearly shown the significant influence of the sidepods and the rear bodywork on aerodynamics. That's why the continuation of our development was consistently directed towards these areas, in which we have designed the car to be even more compact and harmonious."

Conspicuous about the C24's design is its sidepods, which have an extreme undercut to achieve optimum air flow. The same objective was pursued by Sauber with regard to positioning the exhaust tailpipes, which have been neatly integrated into the bodywork.

"In the course of last year the C23 revealed major development potential, so it was a logical step to base the C24's concept on that of its predecessor. Changes were made wherever we were able to identify opportunities for improvement," Rampf added.

The C24 will be powered by the Petronas 05A engine. This power unit corresponds to the V10 to be used by Ferrari as well. The new regulations now require the engine to last two weekends. With regard to the gearbox, Sauber has returned to a design of its own, which has been made lighter, stiffer and more compact yet again.

An important change for Sauber has also come about in the tyre department, following their switch from Bridgestone to Michelin. "We expect a measurable improvement from this change and have certainly seen the first indications of this during initial test drives last year," team principal Peter Sauber said explaining his decision.

Looking towards the upcoming season both Sauber drivers are full of optimism. "During the tests at the end of last year, I got a very good impression of both the C23 and the team,” said Villeneuve, who recently joined the team on a two-year contract. “I'm extremely motivated and determined to support Sauber Petronas in moving ahead further."

His team-mate, Felipe Massa, can hardly await the season opener: "No other team improved as much during the course of last year as Sauber Petronas did. If we manage to take this momentum with us into the new season, a few people will be in for a surprise."

After a successful year in 2004, with a clear upwards trend in the second half, Peter Sauber is full of confidence as well: "Our goal is to further reduce the gap between ourselves and the front runners. Yet to what extent this will impact on the results cannot be predicted at the moment. We won't have any indications as to how well the individual teams have managed to adjust to the new regulations until after the season opener at Melbourne."

Sauber finished a strong sixth in the 2004 constructors’ championship after scoring points in 12 of the 18 races.