Peter Sauber has laid down the target of 'regular points finishes' for his eponymously-named outfit in F1 2011, as the Hinwil-based operation continues its recovery from a troubled 2010 campaign in which it dramatically downsized and metamorphosed from a manufacturer-backed squad into a privateer entry once more.
Following BMW's withdrawal at the end of 2009, Sauber struggled throughout the first half of last season, with far fewer staff than before and a distinct budgetary shortfall. However, over the second half of proceedings, results began to come, with star-turn Kamui Kobayashi scoring in eight of the 13 grands prix from Istanbul onwards.
That helped Sauber to secure eighth spot in the constructors' standings, but it still represented the team's worst finish since 2005, the last year that it had operated under its own steam without a major manufacturer behind it.
In 2011 – the Swiss concern's 19th season at the highest level, having debuted all the way back in 1993 – team owner and principal Sauber admits the chief goal will be renewed stability following the upheaval of 2010, as well as a discernible improvement in on-track results.
“We want to finish in the points regularly and clearly improve our position in the F1 constructors' world championship,” the 67-year-old underlined. “2010 marked the 41st year of our company history and one of the most difficult, but we managed to overcome these difficulties in the second half of the season.
“We implemented some well-considered structural changes. The appointment of James Key as technical director already bore fruit last season, and he is now in charge of development of the Sauber C30-Ferrari. At the same time, we have managed to secure our business foundation for the 2011 season. In these economically-straitened times, that is something we can be proud of, too.”
Indeed, the arrival of new sponsors Telmex, Claro and Telcel – all three belonging to America Movil, the Central and Latin American telecommunications group – as well as Mexican insurance company Interproteccion and tequila brand Jose Cuervo has helped in no small part to stem the financial shortfall, and all were visibly present on the C30 at its Spanish launch today (Monday) at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, ready for the first pre-season group test of 2011.
Of chief importance to the car's design was the necessity to improve reliability in the light of a poor start to 2010 in that respect, as well as banishing other weaknesses of its C29 predecessor including aerodynamic efficiency, low-speed cornering, mechanical grip and suspension-tuning flexibility.
The striking visual features of the C30 are a raised front, slender waist, compact rear, new rollhoop and downward-sloping engine cover, with both the powerplant underneath it and the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology coming from Ferrari. A new aerodynamic package will be fitted prior to the Bahrain curtain-raiser in mid-March.
“In order to take a step forward in 2011, we were already systematically tackling the C29's weaknesses over the last season – and we've made progress,” assured former Force India F1 man Key. “The insights we gleaned were taken into account when the concept for the new C30 was being drawn up.
“Since some of the changes decreed by the regulations – particularly regarding the tyres – can only be analysed out on-track, it was important for us to build, firstly, a fundamentally predictable car and, secondly, one that would provide sufficient flexibility to respond to ongoing findings at the track and during further development stages.”
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