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Sauber F1 Team Launches C36 Challenger Online

The 2017 Sauber C36-Ferrari. [Photo courtesy of Sauber Motorsport]

The 2017 Sauber C36-Ferrari. [Photo courtesy of Sauber Motorsport]

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in the sport of formula one, Sauber began the 2017 launch season Monday with their unveiling of their new C36 challenger on the internet and its social media channels, with a combination color of its regular blue, plus gold for the quarter century the Swiss squad has participated in this activity.

The car itself has all the regulations of this season’s new F1 rules, which consists of larger barge boards and a fin on the engine cover. However, the team has installed a split air box above the driver’s head, which is a different design in comparison to its previous entries.

Former design chief Mark Smith began this design until he was released from the team last March. The design now is taken over from former Audi technical director Jorg Zander, who lost his position from the German marque, when the team resigned from its Lemans winning program, turning its attention to Formula E. The car remains to be powered by a Ferrari engine, which it has done since the mid 1990’s.

During the off-season, Sauber was purchased by Swiss firm Longbow Finance, which has injected fresh blood into the team. This, according to Team Manager Monisha Kaltenborn, could get the team back into the midfield.

“Together with Longbow Finance S. A., we have great opportunities to be competitive again and to return to previous successes in Formula One,” she said to ESPN F1. “We want to position ourselves with a new approach, and we have already taken the first steps in order to build a solid foundation for the future. We clearly have to improve. With the Sauber C36-Ferrari we have a solid basis as well as the resources to further develop the Sauber C36-Ferrari through the season. This will be important to establish in mid-field.”

Zander on the other hand, feels that this season’s rule changes favor bigger and more funded teams, but realizes that smaller teams can also get a chance for good finishes.

“Basically, big teams also have an advantage when it comes to major changes in the regulations, but when the cards are reshuffled new opportunities always present themselves as well,” he said. “With the tires one might be able to mask deficits and get development concepts to work better.”

For the race team, Swede Marcus Ericsson returns for a third season, while his new teammate is German youngster Pascal Wehrlein, who comes over to the team from now bankrupt Manor. There are not many sponsors on the car, since last year’s driver Felipe Nasr supplied loads of cash. But with Longbow now in the mix, the team should move forward.
Sauber will have their filming day at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on February 27th, but Wehrlein will miss out due to a back injury suffered at the most recent Race of Champions event in Florida.

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Mark Gero has written formula one racing stories since 2002 on the Internet for such sites as Motorsport.com, Racing Information Service News and for a brief time at the Munich Eye newspaper in Munich, Germany along with Autoweek online. Mark also has a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism in London, England and in addition a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.