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Sauber launches today

SWISS Formula One team Sauber launched its new Sauber Petronas C16 on Monday - deciding to unveil the new car on the Internet before beginning testing of the new car at Ferrari's Fiorano test track.

The C16, which will be raced this year by Johnny Herbert and Italian Nicola Larini, is the work of Leo Ress's design team at Hinwil, which includes British composite expert Ian Thomson and aerodynamicists Rene Hilorst from Holland and former Lotus engineer Mike Jennings. The car is an evolution of last year's car although there have been a lot of detailed aerodynamic changes as it is the first Sauber which has been developed using half-scale models in the Schweizerische Flugzeugwerke windtunnel in Emmen. The major work on the new car has been fitting the 046 Ferrari V10 engines in place of the Ford V10 used last year. The 75-degree Sauber Petronas (nee Ferrari) engine has a wider vee-angle than the 72-degree Ford. It is an inch shorter, but the two units weigh about the same.

The team - which will continue to be backed by energy-drink maker Red Bull and the Malaysian national oil company Petronas, is planning a series of tests in the next few weeks, hoping to make up for time lost as a result of the lengthy negotiations with Ferrari to buy the old 1996 V10 engines.

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