The third team to officially launch their 2014 challenger is Sauber, who unveiled their C33 this afternoon. The new machinery looks similar to its predecessor through the untrained eye, due to an almost identical livery being maintained by the team, but 2014 is a season of change. Sauber have adopted the same front wing design as McLaren and the same rear wing support pillar as Ferrari. The best looking car released so far? Sauber have a strong case…
|The Sauber C33 features the same livery as its predecessor, but don’t let that fool you…
(c) Sauber F1 Team
Stylish Swiss Curves
The C33 is undoubtedly a good looking car; quite possibly the best so far. The new machinery is inevitably a relation to its predecessor, as the livery of the C32 has been retained, because Sauber have maintained the sponsors which adorned the car last season. It was a stylish change from the brilliant white and black colour scheme used since 2010 and the deep silver finish has not lost its popularity.
However, aesthetics are not dependent on livery. The Sauber C33 features an ‘anteater’ nose similar to the MP4-29
, however this version is decidedly more subtle and elegant. The same can be said for the vertical spars, which create an impression of tight packaging at the tip of the nose. Another feature also similar to Woking’s latest creation, is the vertical pillar supporting the rear wing. This has indeed been a feature on the Ferrari and Lotus as well, while we cannot tell whether Force India have adopted the idea due to the angle of image they released. Whether this has any significant aerodynamic benefit remains to be seen, as it could be used solely for the structural integrity of the rear wing. However, with coanda exhausts outlawed for 2014, teams will have examined every potential method of gaining rear downforce and it is likely that it will be of some benefit – if only minimal.
One key difference between the C32 and C33 is in the sidepod region, where the air intakes have been enlarged, not only to conform to the new regulations, but to correct the issues that the team faced last season, due to their small sidepods. The tight packaging caused issues for the team last season as aero deficiencies made the car unstable. Once the team corrected the fault, both Hulkenberg and Gutierrez were able to maximise the potential of the car.
Do not let the livery fool you – the C33 is a revolutionary machine. Sauber’s chief designer Eric Gandelin said: “The regulation changes in 2014 are the biggest ever seen in Formula One. They impact on all aspects of the car’s design,”
Sutil’s Sauber Journey Starts Here
Nico Hulkenberg made the decision to switch from Force India to pastures new in 2012, joining Sauber. It was criticised at the time for being a sideways move for his career and perhaps it did negatively impact on his chances of obtaining a front-running seat for 2014 – We will never know how he would have performed in the VJM06. However, Adrian Sutil has not been deterred by Hulkenberg’s initial 2013 woes, by making an identical move to Hinwil from Force India.
It is a critical move for Sutil. All six of his seasons in Formula One have been completed while driving for the various incarnations of Force India. Obtaining a Sauber seat was a good result for Adrian – a team who have proved their credentials in recent years. “After six good years in the same team, it was time for me to look for a new challenge,” he said when speaking at the official launch. “I’m determined to have a successful future with the Sauber F1 Team and will do my bit to ensure that.”
His new teammate, Esteban Gutierrez, will be hoping for a stronger 2014 campaign, after only scoring 6 points in his debut season. He has already expressed his desire to lead the team ahead of his new teammate, despite his greatly inferior experience. At today’s launch event, Esteban stated; “I want to become a leader for the team. This is my second year now as a racing driver in Formula One and a lot of new things are coming up. I think that my involvement with the team is very important, so that we can meet our targets as a team.” After a season of relative obscurity, Gutierrez is looking to come out fighting in 2014. The relationship between the German and the Mexican could be very interesting indeed.
In my opinion, the C33 is the pick of the bunch so far, at least from an aesthetic viewpoint. Its close comparisons with McLaren’s latest product could be a good sign for both teams as they are the only two to follow a similar development path so far. However, there are plenty of teams left to show their machinery. Toro Rosso will unveil the STR9 tomorrow, with Marussia, Caterham, Force India, Williams, Mercedes and Red Bull all showing off their winter projects on day one at Jerez. Its certainly a hectic time in the world of Formula One.