With a revised driver line-up of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez, the Swiss team hope the new machine will help them build on their strong form at the end of last season, when they finished seventh in the constructors’ championship.
The C33 has been designed in accordance with the heavily revised 2014 regulations, arguably the biggest rule changes in Formula One history. They include a move to smaller, 1.6 litre turbo engines, more reliance on energy recovery systems (ERS), and updated aerodynamics.
“Together, these changes present the engineers with a huge challenge, especially with time pressure also a major factor,” commented Sauber’s chief designer Eric Gandelin. “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.”
Perhaps the most visually striking element of the C33 is the very low, snout-like nose. The narrower front wing features mounting pylons on the nose that have been moved out as far as possible under the regulations to channel as much air as possible under the car.
“The radical changes to the technical regulations for 2014 mean that it’s even harder than usual to make predictions for the new season,” added Gandelin. “We know what kind of package we’ve put together here, 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.”
That testing begins at Jerez in Spain on Tuesday. Sauber will use a roll-out version of the C33. This will be fully functional, but without a number of performance parts which will be introduced for the remaining two pre-season tests in Bahrain.
“On the one hand this gives us time to maximise the development of these performance relevant parts, and 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.,” explained Gandelin.