FEBRUARY 3, 2013
Sauber stuns with shrunken sidepods
Sauber has revealed the first major technical innovation of the 2013 season, and according to Germany's specialist Auto Motor und Sport it could be a masterstroke.
Reportedly, designer Matt Morris got the idea for the C32's ultra-narrow sidepods when Sergio Perez's sideways-crushed car got back to the Swiss team's garage after his huge Monaco shunt in 2011.
"If the trick works, the competition has a problem," said correspondent Michael Schmidt.
Schmidt said the C32's sidepods are 10 to 15 centimetres narrower than those on the 2012 Sauber.
The benefit is clear: reduced drag and air disruptance to the diffuser and rear wing, and more scope for redirecting the flow to the most beneficial places.
"We endorsed the concept in July last year, because it influences the chassis and the crash structures," said designer Morris.
He explained, however, that the biggest problem was not the crash tests, but accomodating the radiators, electronic boxes, wire harnesses and other parts in the drastically reduced space.
"A nightmare," grinned Morris.
But arguably the biggest advantage of all is that, if Sauber has pulled off a masterstroke from left field, the competition will not be able to copy the innovation -- to do that, rival teams would have to build a new chassis.
Meanwhile, unlike McLaren, Sauber has not followed Ferrari's lead by introducing novel 'pull-rod' front suspension.
"There is probably an aerodynamic advantage," Morris admitted, "but to optimise the benefits and minimise the mechanical disadvantages would require a really complicated programme that goes beyond our capacity.
"This is a project for the 2014 car," he added.
Meanwhile, Mercedes' attempt to give eager fans a sneak peak of its 2013 car failed spectacularly when its website servers crashed.
The Brackley based team had promised to reveal more of the unlaunched W04 every time a fan issued the Tweet #f1w04reveal.
"Guys, server demand today has exceeded anything ever seen for Mercedes-Benz worldwide," the team said on its official Twitter channel.
The sneak-peak is now online at the team's official website, but the real W04 is currently en route to Spain, where it will be launched at Jerez on Monday ahead of the week's test action.