TECH ANALYSIS: How Kick Sauber's C44 moves closer than ever towards a Red Bull design philosophy
The new Kick Sauber C44 has moved closer than ever towards a Red Bull design philosophy, with a new pull-rod front suspension and a RB19-like radiator inlet within the heavily undercut and ramped sidepods.
Still Ferrari-powered and with Ferrari gearbox internals within Sauber’s own casing, the rest of the car is manufactured in-house and was a project initiated under the previous technical director Jan Monchaux before he was replaced by James Key in August of last year.
The move to pull-rod front suspension is in line with what Red Bull and McLaren have been doing for the last two seasons and is expected to become something of a trend with this year’s crop of new cars (though not at Ferrari and Haas). The rear suspension rockers remain operated by pushrods.
Pull-rod front suspension allows for a tighter control of the car’s aerodynamic platform, making it easier to incorporate a lot of anti-dive in the geometry. It can be seen from the very high mounting point of the upper front wishbone, and how much lower the upper rear wishbone is, that there is a lot of anti-dive built into this geometry.
So the natural tendency for the car to dive under braking should be much reduced, thereby keeping the aerodynamic behaviour more consistent and allowing the rear ride height to be set lower, so enhancing the underfloor ground effect.
The heavy downward ramp of the sidepod together with the Red Bull-style radiator inlets should help keep the airflow from the upper sidepods from interfering with that below the radiator inlets which is being directed downwards to the floor edges.
A regulation increase in the load test for the roll hoop (initiated as a result of Zhou Guanyu’s roll-over accident at the 2022 British Grand Prix) has meant Sauber replacing its previous blade design with a more conventional ‘A’ shape.
The front wing shown on the car looks identical to that seen at the end of 2023 but may not be the final version. Similarly, Sauber has been careful to ensure the detail geometry of the floor edges are not visible.