A completely new car for Sauber

AT the start of the launch of his new Formula 1 car, Peter Sauber asked a rhetorical question: "What do we have in common with Ferrari? The answer was is that we are the only two teams in F1 to have reached the maximum of our potential in 2001. And we are going to try to do the same again in 2002."

Sauber's 10th season in F1 is going to be an interesting one but the only point that raised any eyebrows at the Sauber launch in Zurich was that the team has designed a completely new car in 2002 rather than following the footsteps of other teams and building a revised version of the successful C20. The team's technical director Willy Rampf explained the move.

"We could just have used the old one and optimized it," he said. "But that was not enough for us. We set ourselves very ambitions goals to improve on the C20 in every respect. We had to run the risk of developing a completely new vehicle."

Rampf explained that the car is aerodynamically much more efficient with a big reduction in weight.

"We actually exceeded our goals on saving weight and at the first test of the car we even had trouble finding enough room in the car to put all the ballast. But that is good problem from an F1 engineer to have! Every single component was rethought and redesigned to achieve this. The first test was very good and we had no problems so we are very optimistic."

The drivers both confirmed that the first test at Fiorano had gone very well.

"The new car is more stable than the older one," said Felipe Massa. "It has more grip and more power so I am very optimistic."

Nick Heidfeld agreed.

"It was an even better roll-out test than last year," he said.

But Peter Sauber remains as conservative as ever.

"We are always firmly rooted in reality," he said. "It is always possible to win a "chaos race" but we cannot yet talk about winning a race in our own right."

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