BMW Sauber launch the C29
Ferrari power but the BMW name remains
On the eve of the pre-season tests, BMW Sauber F1 Team today rolled out its Ferrari-engined C29 at the Ricardo Tormo race track in Cheste near Valencia, Spain.
The team which finished sixth in the championship last year, is now under the guidance of founder Peter Sauber following BMW’s exit from the sport. The team aims is to establish itself at this level despite a lower budget and reduction in manpower.
Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa bring to the team a blend of youth and experience. Japan’s Kobayashi made his case with strong performances in two Grand Prix in 2009 and has already recorded his first World Championship points.
De la Rosa has 71 Grand Prix under his belt and has earned his place in the statistics for podium finishes and setting fastest race laps. Plus, he also brings with him valuable experience from seven years as a test and reserve driver with a leading team.
“The last few months have been very intense for us,” said team boss and owner Peter Sauber. “First we had to battle to secure the survival of the team and then we focused on putting a strong set-up in place for the future.
"The technical preparation of the 2010 car has continued uninterrupted and according to plan since the spring of 2009, despite all the turmoil," he continued. "We have a long tradition of bringing together an up-and-coming youngster and an experienced campaigner as a driver combination – and it’s an approach that has brought us a lot of success. Pedro has been working at the highest level technically for many years and for a top team, and we can benefit as a team from this experience. Young Kamui also has a lot to offer us, and last year he impressed me particularly in Abu Dhabi.”
For De la Rosa, a long-harboured hope has been realised: “At last I can feel like a proper racing driver again. I’ve really missed the competition out on the track. At the same time, though, I’ve learned a lot technically and on the systems side, and now I want to bring that knowledge to the team.”
Kobayashi can’t wait to tackle his first full season in Formula One: “I’m very proud that Peter Sauber has shown so much faith in me and I’m determined not to disappoint him. My aim is that he will end up being proud of me as well.”
Peter Sauber will be at trackside for the races in his capacity as Team Principal, while Managing Director Monisha Kaltenborn will head up operational matters at the factory in Hinwil. Willy Rampf will celebrate ten years as the team’s Technical Director in April 2010 and is again responsible for the coming season’s car.
“The development of the BMW Sauber C29 has seen the team build on the experience gained last year and the improvement in performance over the final third of the season," said Rampf. "However, the new regulations banning refuelling during the race and stipulating a reduced width for the front tyres have required significant changes to the car’s design.”
The increased length of the fuel tank means the car has grown longer overall. And because they are slimmer, the front tyres will be more heavily worked, requiring weight to be shifted further towards the rear of the car.
An eye-catching feature of the C29 is its highly intricate raised nose. Also very distinctive is an extremely long undercut at the transition from chassis into underbody.
These and other aerodynamic measures also help to ensure optimum airflow to the double diffuser. Further changes were required to integrate the Ferrari engine and, in particular, the Ferrari gearbox.
Click here for images of the C29.