Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio were on hand to unveil the new Sauber C30 at Valencia this morning. The pair will form one of the youngest driver pairings on the grid but much will be expected of them by the Swiss based team in 2011.
The new car, powered once more by Ferrari, features heavily revised aerodynamics with a high front nose and an intricate rear end, including just a single mounting for its rear wing, rather than the twin-mount of its predecessor.
“In addition, it is also important for us to go into winter testing with a car we understand, and we have worked hard on ensuring the characteristics of the car are heading in a direction we believe in. There will be much to learn about the new Pirelli tyres and in this respect we want to ensure there are no surprises with the way the car is handling.”
The new car also features a fully integrated blown diffuser and will also utilise Ferrari’s KERS units throughout the new season.
“2010 marked the 41st year of our company history and one of the most difficult.
“Never before had we faced such reliability problems, but we managed to overcome them 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.
The team will field Mexican rookie Perez and much is expected in his homeland. Sponsors in Mexico have made agreements to support Sauber because of their choice of driver; phone company Telmex, and its various brands, will have logos placed prominently on the new car. Even so it is clear that the team has a lot of space still for sale on the new car. As a result the opening tests of the year are vital for the squad to show they can be competitive in the coming season.
The rookie said that, ““I’m aware how challenging Formula One is from both a driver’s point of view and technically. I’ve got a lot to learn, and in Kamui I have an excellent yardstick. My personal goal is to make steady progress. The support I’m getting back in my home country is huge, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone over there either.”
“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.”
As with any team at the launch of a new car there is much optimism. It will be interesting to see if the team can move forward in the coming season and challenge for points on a consistent basis, as it did in the early years of the 21st century, otherwise the squad could be left to flounder in the midfield.
Formula 1 is incredibly competitive at present, and the team will need to develop the car throughout the year. Key is a very competent designer who clearly helped the team last season but this is the first car that he will be judged on by his paymasters. The big question in Switzerland is can he cut it.