Sauber became the latest team to launch their 2013 car, choosing to unveil their new C32 to the world at the team’s base in Hinwil, Switzerland.
Last year was a brilliant season for Sauber, with outgoing drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi notching up four podiums between them on their way to sixth place in the championship. The team now has a very different look, with Nico Hulkenberg moving across from Force India, whilst the signing of Esteban Gutierrez meant the team was able to maintain vital Mexican sponsorship.
“2012 was a very successful year for us,” said team boss Monisha Kaltenborn. “We not only moved up from seventh to sixth place in the constructors’ standings, but also improved our points total from 44 in 2011 to 126 last season. We have a strong platform in place now, on which we are aiming to build and continue our upward curve.”
We have had our eye on Nico Hulkenberg for some time and have been impressed by his performances. He is very quick, but, most importantly, he’s also very efficient. He understands how to pick up as many points as possible from a particular race situation. Esteban Gutiérrez is a driver we know very well as a result of a relationship with the team going back several years, and he has already had a number of opportunities to test with our car. Plus, he has always stayed in close contact with our engineers, which has allowed him to learn a lot about Formula One. I’m in no doubt he is now ready to take the final step and put his outstanding talent on display,” she added.
Hulkenberg, who is now entering his third season of Formula One, said: “The Sauber F1 Team made significant progress last year from 2011. Now the team is ready to take the next step, and I want to play my part in making that happen. My personal aim is to put in a good, steady performance this season.”
2010 GP3 champion Gutierrez was also optimistic ahead of the season.“I’m really looking forward to my first season in Formula One. My long association with the Sauber F1 Team has given me the chance to understand the complexity of Formula One. But I also realise, of course, that I still have a huge amount to learn. I will be working flat out to adapt to the whole F1 environment as quickly as possible and, if things open up during races, I want to make sure I’m ready to take full advantage,” he said.
“The C31 was an extremely competitive car with many strengths,” the team’s chief designer, Matt Morris, explained. “Our aim was to further improve these strengths and eliminate its few weaknesses. The sidepods of the C32 are notably slimmer than the Formula One norm up to now and are responsible for giving the new car a very distinctive look.”
“The airflow in this area has a major influence over everything that happens at the rear of the car,” he concluded.