The Ferrari-powered C34, to be raced by the team’s all-new driver line-up of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, succeeds the disappointing C33 which last year became the first F1 car produced by the Swiss team not to score a single point.
During the development of the C34, Sauber say their engineers focused on three areas: performance in slow corners, weight reduction, and braking stability. The new car also features a striking new nose design (in response to changes to the technical regulations regarding nose height and shape), slimmer sidepods, a less voluminous rear end and a revised radiator layout.
Speaking ahead of the new car’s track debut in Spain on Sunday, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: “2014 was a very disappointing year. However, this is in the past, and we now focus on what comes next. We have learned our lessons and are confident for the new season.”
“We have to improve, and be able to fight for championship points.”
Ericsson, who will be the first of Sauber’s drivers to put the C34 through its paces, added that it is important that the team put last year’s struggles behind them.
“After a difficult season, we want to move forward and fight in the midfield like the team previously did,” commented the Swede. “From a driver’s point of view, I want to continue to learn and establish myself as a Formula One driver. I have the feeling of being in the perfect environment to do so. In Formula One it is difficult to have precise targets, as it depends on the overall package. It is clear that we want to be fighting for points.”
Like Ericsson, rookie Nasr, who finished runner up in the GP2 Series last year, feels ready to take up the challenge of returning Sauber to the points, even though he admits there is much for him to learn.
“In my role as test and reserve driver for Williams last year, I was involved in every race weekend,” said the Brazilian. “Furthermore, I also had the chance to drive the car a few times, so I think I have a certain understanding of Formula One. Now I am taking the next step in being a race driver, and I am looking forward to bringing my experience from 2014 as well as to supporting the Sauber F1 Team in getting back into the points.”
Sauber will use a roll-out version of the C34 at the first pre-season test in Jerez, featuring some components from the Sauber C33 that will eventually be replaced by new parts. “We were able to gain a lot of experience during the course of the 2014 season, which will have an influence on the Sauber C34,” said chief designer Eric Gandelin. “We will use the time up to Melbourne to ensure we’re as competitive as possible when we line up on the grid for the season opener.”