SAUBER PETRONAS today released the first pictures of the C24. The official launch is accompanied by a new site. Tomorrow the new Sauber racing car will have its baptism of fire during the roll-out in Valencia. On Friday and Saturday Felipe Massa will be testing, and on Sunday Jacques Villeneuve will relieve his team-mate at the wheel.
For the aerodynamicists in particular the C24 represents a great challenge as new technical regulations result in a marked reduction of downforce. "Of course, this has made us focus special attention on aerodynamics," says Technical Director Willy Rampf. "Our experience with the C23 had clearly shown the significant influence of the sidepods and the rear bodywork on aerodynamics. That’s why the continuation of our development was consistently directed towards these areas, in which we have designed the car to be even more compact and harmonious." Conspicuous about the C24’s design is its sidepods, which have an extreme undercut to achieve optimum air flow. The same objective was pursed with regard to positioning the exhaust tailpipes, which have been integrated harmoniously into the bodywork.
"In the course of last year the C23 revealed major development potential, so it was a logical step to base the C24’s concept on that of its predecessor. Changes were made wherever we were able to identify opportunities for improvement," Rampf added.
The C24 will be powered by the PETRONAS 05A engine. This power unit corresponds to the V10 to be used by Ferrari as well. The new regulations now require the engine to last two weekends. With regard to the gearbox, Sauber has returned to a design of its own, which has been made lighter, stiffer and more compact yet again.
An important change for SAUBER PETRONAS has come about in the tyre sector as the team was able to win Michelin as a partner. "We expect a measurable improvement from this change and have certainly seen the first indications of this during initial test drives last year," Team Principal Peter Sauber says, explaining his decision.
Looking towards the upcoming season full of optimism are the two drivers. "During the tests at the end of last year, I got a very good impression of both the C23 and the team. I’m extremely motivated and determined to support SAUBER PETRONAS in moving ahead further," says Jacques Villeneuve, who recently joined the team. The former World Champion signed a two-year contract with SAUBER PETRONAS. His team-mate, Felipe Massa, can hardly await the season opener: "No other team improved as much during the course of last year as SAUBER PETRONAS did. If we manage to take this momentum with us into the new season, a few people will be in for a surprise."
After a successful year of 2004 showing a clear upwards trend in the second half, Team Principal Peter Sauber is full of confidence as well: "Our goal is to further reduce the gap between ourselves and the front runners. Yet to what extent this will impact on the results cannot be predicted at the moment. We won’t have any indications as to how well the individual teams have managed to adjust to the new regulations until after the season opener at Melbourne."
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