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Revolution meets evolution: Sauber take wraps off the C31 06 Feb 2012

The Sauber C31 (L to R): Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) , Sergio Perez (MEX) and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber Third Driver with the new Sauber C31.
Formula One Testing, Preparations, Jerez, Spain,  Monday, 6 February 2012 The Sauber C31 The Sauber C31 lre Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One Testing, Preparations, Jerez, Spain,  Monday, 6 February 2012 (L to R): Peter Sauber (SUI) Sauber F1 Team Principal, Monisha Kaltenborn Sauber F1 CEO,  Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), Sergio Perez (MEX) and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber Third Driver.
Formula One Testing, Preparations, Jerez, Spain,  Monday, 6 February 2012

Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez unveiled the new Sauber in Jerez on Monday. The Ferrari-engined C31 will take to the Spanish track later in the day for some promotional filming, ahead of the start of the first multi-team test of the winter on Tuesday.

“We’re aiming to start the new season as strongly as we did in 2011, but then also to maintain this level of performance throughout the year,” explained team principal Peter Sauber, whose team were seventh in the 2011 standings.

“Our goal is to finish regularly in the points so as to put ourselves in a significantly better position in the world championship. The Sauber C31-Ferrari boasts a large number of promising new developments, but in other areas it is a systematic further development of last year’s car.”

The new Sauber boasts a much tidier design than its 2011 predecessor with an optimised front suspension, revised sidepod packaging and an all-new carbon transmission from engine supplier Ferrari. It also features a stepped nose in line with this year’s new chassis regulations.

The car’s rear suspension is now a pull-rod design, which has allowed the team to improve the packaging of the rear spring and damper elements. Despite the change from pushrod to pullrod, in terms of kinematics the engineers maintained a similar direction to the one they went in for the C30.

“The C31 is revolutionary where we had fresh ideas, particularly at the rear of the car, and it is an evolution where we knew we could carry over certain approaches,” said chief designer Matt Morris. “We had to improve on the weaknesses we identified on the C30, but at the same time we wanted to maintain its strengths.

“The current plan is to launch a fairly basic roll-out version of the car, which was defined quite some time ago. We will then be testing development parts during the upcoming weeks with a late upgrade for the first race on 18th March in Australia. Therefore the car will look quite different in Melbourne compared to the roll-out car.”

Unlike their midfield rivals Lotus, Force India and Toro Rosso, Sauber have the benefit of an unchanged driver line-up for 2012. And both 25 year-old Kobayashi and 22 year-old Perez are excited to get their on-track preparations started and, once the season gets underway, scoring points consistently throughout the year.

“2012 will be not only my third season in Formula One, but also my third with the same team,” said Japanese driver Kobayashi. “We’ve been through a lot together and can benefit from our shared experiences. In my first year with the team we had a bad start but a good second half to the season. The second year was the exact reverse. In our third year together we should be a reliable bet to finish consistently in the points. I’m really looking forward to the new season with the Sauber F1 Team.”

Mexican team mate Perez, who impressed during his debut Formula One season with the team in 2011, added: “My first year in Formula One felt like three years, there were so many new things to take in. But now I feel like I’ve arrived in Formula One and I’m determined to take a step up in 2012 and achieve better results for the team on a regular basis.”

After the media have had a closer look at the C31, it will complete a few filmed laps of Jerez before the team’s proper work begins on Tuesday morning as this week’s four-day test gets underway, with Kobayashi expected in the cockpit.

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