Privateer Sauber launched the Ferrari-powered C22 at the weekend, and with it, the Swiss team hopes to compete with most of the works teams in 2003.
Sauber launched the Ferrari-powered C22 at the weekend, and with it, the Swiss team hopes to compete with most of the works teams in 2003.
Sauber is one of only three privateer teams left in F1, but team boss Peter Sauber believes that drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Nick Heidfeld will be able to compete with the majority of the works teams - save for Ferrari, Williams and McLaren.
"It is our goal to play a key role in the vanguard of teams chasing the top three, toe-to-toe with Renault," said Sauber. "Everyone of these manufacturers must have the goal of winning the world championship.
"The entire team is highly motivated. Naturally, it has to be the aim of every F1 team to win a grand prix one day. For the time being, we are not aiming quite that high, but we want to play an important among the pursuing teams and to compete at a high level with the works teams," he added.
The new C22 has been described by the Swiss team “as a radical departure” from last year's C21 design. The C22 was first tested on January 13 at Barcelona and has since proved reliable.
Sauber technical director Willy Rampf has taken what he calls “a huge aerodynamic step forward” with the C22 - everything from the nose to the rear wing is new, and although the car's dimensions were only slightly changed, its proportions are totally different.
The 03a engine is based on the Ferrari works engine (to its development stage in mid-September 2002). In Maranello, approximately 40 new engines will be built for Sauber Petronas throughout the season. The new engine in the Sauber Petronas C22 is more powerful and lighter than its predecessor. Furthermore, it has a lower centre of gravity.
The Ferrari-powered C22 had already completed a month of testing before the launch and the team is already aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
"Compared with its predecessor, the C22's basic potential is much greater so that we will be able to improve the car continuously throughout the season," said Rampf. "Our objective was not merely to make the C22 more efficient, but most of all to ensure that it will react less sensitively from an aerodynamic point of view."