The Sauber Formula 1 team officially launched its 2010 Formula 1 contender, the C29, in Valencia, Spain today. The C29 looks sleeker and more aerodynamically efficient than last year’s car. In fact, the current concept looks very reminiscent of last year’s Red Bull car, which by season’s end proved to be the class of the field.
Like the Renault team, Sauber killed two birds with one stone, and chose to exploit the Valencia test track as the site of their unveiling, rather than going to the expense of a more formal ceremony, in the manner of Ferrari or Mercedes.
Clearly, this is a reflection of the fact that Sauber, after several years of majority ownership by BMW, havae returned to being an completely privateer team. Like the new Renault, Sauber’s latest iteration shows a dearth of sponsorship branding, although in Sauber’s case this logo shortage is absoulte. The new car showed no commercial logos whatsoever. Even the drivers’ coveralls (both Sauber pilots, Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa, were present) were completely devoid of brand patches, save for the Puma brand on their collars.
Team principal Peter Sauber conceded that his team, which he acquired back from BMW latae last year, would be operating at a fraction of the budget they enjoyed while they were a manufacturer team. The staff has been reduced from 400 to 260, and their development and construction budget is 40% of what it was last year.
As reported in Autosport, Sauber said, “The season is financially secure, but of course we have to look very hard for new sponsors – not only for 2010 but especially for 2011 and on.”
However, Sauber is taking the long view, and is optimistic that his team will be well-positioned for the phasing in of resource restrictions, a means of budget control which should be stipulated in future rules. Referring to the team’s current budget parameters, Sauber said, “We are on a level like we have to be in the future.”
Sauber has also indicated that he’s been too preoccupied with the essentials of ensuring the viability of the team to worry about such secondary matters as the team’s official nomenclature. While they’re registered with the FIA as BMW Sauber, they no longer have any connection with the German manufacturer. In fact, their engines are actually being supplied by Ferrari. An official name change must be approved unanimously by all of the other F1 teams. Presumably, Sauber will be motivated to jump through the mandatory bureaucratic hoops once he secures a title sponsor for the team.
(Image source: yossidlr)