All image credits to Sutton Images
Sauber revealed its 2013 Formula 1 contender, the C32, in an event at its Hinwil headquarters in Switzerland on Saturday morning.
The team enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in its history in 2012, as it claimed four podium finishes and finished sixth in the constructors’ championship.
Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said that given last year’s results, Sauber wanted to build on the previous car’s strong points rather than starting afresh.
“I’m very excited, but also a little tense,” she said. “The aim is very clear and simple: we want to continue to improve ourselves.
“The Sauber C32 is based on its predecessor, which was a very competitive car.
“It had a lot of strengths and some weaknesses, and our engineers have worked to build on those strengths and eliminate the weaknesses.”
The car has an all-new, largely grey, livery and runs a smooth nose as well as notably small sidepods.
Sauber also has an all-new driver line-up for 2013, with ex-Force India man Nico Hulkenberg and promoted test driver Esteban Gutierrez replacing Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi.
After being granted a one-year extension to his contract with the team, it seems Mark Webber will struggle to keep his seat at the reigning Constructor’s Champion beyond 2013.
The 36-year-old Australian will be with the team for the seventh consecutive year this season, but he has already been put on notice by Red Bull’s special advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.
Marko has made it clear that Red Bull was unhappy with Webber’s performance at Interlagos, where team-mate Sebastian Vettel was competing with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for the driver’s title.
Flavio Briatore, who is involved with the management of Webber’s career, noted after Brazil that “the only one who helped Ferrari was Webber.”
“Mark was not optimally co-operative in Brazil,” the tough Marko confirmed.
According to German publication Sports Bild, several drivers are being considered for a potential drive at Red Bull, with Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne mentioned, but Marko is particularly keen on Nico Hulkenberg. Another German, the 25-year-old
Hulkenberg recently signed a one-year deal with Sauber and has also been linked with a move to Ferrari in 2014. “A few years ago he was on the list of candidates for our junior team, but Nico already had a main sponsor (Dekra) with which he didn’t want to separate,” Marko confirmed.
Source: Planet F1
By Phillip Horton on Friday, November 23, 2012
The Mexican will move up from GP2 to partner Nico Hulkenberg in an all new line up for the Swiss team.
“Esteban has already been part of the team for a long time and we have followed his career very closely,” said Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “In 2010 we signed him up as an affiliated driver, and in 2011 and 2012 he was our test and reserve driver. We mapped out his path to Formula One step by step. Esteban has great talent and now he’s ready to take the leap. We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season with Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez.”
Esteban Gutiérrez commented: “After three years working with Sauber I feel very grateful for all the attention I have received from everyone in the team and for all their input, which has allowed me to develop into a Formula One driver in a very progressive way”.
“Now, after experiencing other categories of racing as an introduction to Formula One, this is the start of the real challenge to succeed at the pinnacle of motor sport. The support from my family, as well as from my sponsors, has been a key factor in getting there and I am very grateful to everyone who has been involved in our project. It will be a great pleasure to be racing in the same team as an experienced driver like Nico Hülkenberg. He will be a good reference point for me and will push me to adapt quickly to F1 competition so we can develop the car together with the team in the best way.”
Reigning FR3.5 champion Robin Frijns joins the team as a reserve driver.
“Monitoring Robin’s racing career“, said Kaltenborn, “makes it easy to spot his potential. This was the reason we gave him the chance to drive the Sauber C31-Ferrari at the Young Driver Days in Abu Dhabi. He managed this very well. We will now carefully guide him to Formula One. This is a long way, but Robin has got the skills to do that successfully.”
Robin Frijns said: “I’m very happy the Sauber F1 Team has given me this opportunity. I would like to thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber for their belief and trust in me by signing me to join their team as a test and reserve driver. With this opportunity I will try to help the team as much as possible and get the chance to learn how Formula 1 works in an extremely professional environment. I am already very much looking forward to getting the 2013 season started and working together with the team.”
Kaltenborn also paid tribute to Sauber’s current racers.
Nico Hülkenberg will drive for Sauber in 2013. But Sauber didin’t tell who he’s teammate will be, will it be Kamikaze (Kobayashi) or another Mexican like Esteban Gutierrez. Drivers like Alguersuari, Kovalainen, or Sutil still have chances to be the Number 2 in the team.
Hülkenberg’s joining to Sauber was absolutley right. He had to make a step forward in his career and we don’t know if the Sahara Force India team is financially alright. So Hülkenberg could stay for Sauber many years, if Telmex stays as sponsor.
Hülkenberg was from 2008-2009 testdriver by Williams, in 2009 he was GP2 champion. Hülkenberg was driving for Williams in 2010, he’s highlight in that year was he’s pole in Sao Paulo under rainy conditions. The Netherlands Robert Frijns has good chances to be testdriver by Sauber for the next season. He won three championships in three years (!), Formula BMW Eurocup 2010, Formula Renault 2.0 and the Formula Renault 3.5 Series this year.
Felipe Massa has secured his future at Ferrari, with team principal Stefano Domenicali revealing on Sunday night that the outfit will make an announcement about its driver plans imminently.
Massa’s place at Ferrari has been the subject of intense speculation for much of the season, on the back of a difficult start to the campaign where he could not match the pace or results of team-mate Fernando Alonso.
However, a stronger second half to the campaign and impressive drives in Japan and Korea have sealed his place at the team – with it understood that a deal will be sorted out imminently.
Ferrari’s decision to retain Massa for next year, which could be confirmed ahead of the Indian Grand Prix, leaves the way open for Nico Hulkenberg to join Sauber for 2013.
Hulkenberg had been favourite to move to Maranello if the team elected to replace Massa, but his focus will now be on finalising a contract with Sauber – with a provisional agreement believed to have been finalised.
Massa himself said on Sunday that he was convinced he would be staying on as Alonso’s team-mate for another year.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he had any doubts that he would not be at Ferrari, he said: “No. I don’t have. But anyway we wait for the time.
“When you get the OK from both directions that is when you are sure. I think it will be pretty soon to be honest.”
Domenicali has also dropped the firmest hint yet that Massa will be staying – as he suggested matters could be finalised soon.
“Very soon you will know what will be our position on that respect,” he said.
Speaking more about the reasons behind Massa’s recent lift in form, Domenicali said: “I think that for sure he understands now better the car, he understands better the tyres – and also the fact Felipe is a very, very strong driver because otherwise we would have already taken a different decision.
“So I feel that now when Felipe has under his control the understanding of the tyres and car, he performs at the level he should.”
Some more pieces of the 2013 ‘silly season’ puzzle are set to fall into place.
British broadcaster BBC reports with confidence that, with his return to the podium at Suzuka following a two-year drought, Felipe Massa could have his new contract to stay at Ferrari confirmed “before” this weekend’s Korean grand prix.
It’s a blow for Force India’s Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, who were linked strongly with the Maranello team’s potentially vacant cockpit.
But Switzerland’s Blick newspaper reports that German Hulkenberg has a back-up plan that is now “ready for the signatures”.
“Nico Hulkenberg will go to Sauber for at least two years,” veteran correspondent Roger Benoit reports from Japan.
Blick said former Toro Rosso racer Sebastien Buemi, who this year has been Red Bull’s official reserve driver, is in the hot seat to replace Hulkenberg.
But Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer is quoted as telling Blick’s Benoit: “Why doesn’t Sauber take Buemi?”