New Sauber C21 has first shakedown at Fiorano

THE Sauber-Petronas C21 completed its first shakedown at the Ferrari team's Fiorano test track on Tuesday with Nick Heidfeld first behind the wheel and completing 59 laps for a best time of 1m 00.59s. New boy Felipe Massa drove the 2001 type C20 at the same time in order that the team could make a valid comparison between the performance of the two cars.

Heidfeld was intended to continue driving the C21 this morning (Wednesday) after which Massa was scheduled to have a try. Unfortunately a heavy overnight snowfall meant that the circuit was unusable for the second day.

"Our primary aim with the C21 has been to further improve the car's aerodynamics, to revise the weight distribution, lower the center of gravity and to further optimize the gearbox and suspension," said Technical Director Willy Rampf.

"Despite the subsequent weather we have had a very successful rollout. From the installation lap and the first run right to the end of the day, the new C21 ran with complete reliability for 59 laps. We checked all the systems and detected no problems and our first set-ups and data measurement were extremely satisfactory. Out only disappointment was to see the snow this morning."

Nick Heidfeld added; "I have a real good feeling with the 2002 car. The engine never stopped and the car was never towed back to the pits during the entire day. This is a first contact and I need more mileage overall, but my first impression of the new car is very favorable."

The C21 will be unveiled on 25 January close to the team's Hinwil base.

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