|2015 Sauber-Ferrari C34|
Hopefully though, there's a lot more to this car than some new sponsorship money. Sauber had the most disappointing season of anyone last year, as they failed to score a single point all year for the first time in their 20-year history. Zilch. Plus they were beaten by Marussia... or would've been had they survived to the end of the season. The only way is up for the financially challenged Swiss team.
Much like Ferrari, there has been some musical chairs going on. Both drivers from last year, Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil, have been booted (initially without knowing it, which was awkward), replaced by Caterham refugee Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr, the latter of whom brings with him the blue and yellow sponsorship of his national bank. To avoid confusion with Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, his surname is to be pronounced "Nass-ear," as if an 'i' has been inserted after the 's'. The F1 rookie came 3rd in GP2 last year, so he's reasonably qualified beyond his huge sponsorship budget, unlike some on the grid. Meanwhile, the actual champion from last year, Britain's Jolyon Palmer, could only get a seat as a third driver at Lotus (the man that came 8th in GP2, Raffaele Marciello, is Sauber's third driver). Damn financial politics...
Anyway, the new Sauber unfortunately sports a slightly goofy nose, with a protrusion much wider than that of the new Williams. But if it helps the overall aerodynamics work better, then so be it. Without Caterham and Marussia to provide buffering at the back, Sauber risk finishing last if they don't pull their socks up. Their three main areas for development have been reducing weight, improving braking performance and making it handle better at low speeds, a key issue last year (if the drivers can't drive it, how is it going to win anything?). As well as that, the Ferrari power unit apparently requires better cooling, so Sauber have managed to do that as well, narrowing the rear body with more efficient radiator packaging.
I really hope they don't finish last, even though it has to be an inevitability for someone. Sauber have been one of the cooler teams recently and deserve regular points finishes like they were having at the end of the V8 era. Let's see some colour near the front!!
BONUS IMAGE: This isn't the first time we've seen a blue Sauber, of course...
|2004 Sauber-Petronas-Ferrari C23|