Sauber have revealed their new car for the 2018 season, the C37, their first car since they teamed up with new title sponsor Alfa Romeo.
The new car follows a similar livery theme to the concept Sauber posed at the end of last year, when they announced their partnership with Alfa Romeo. Gone is the blue and gold of last season that was used to celebrate 25 years in the sport for Sauber, to be replaced with dark red and white. The corporate colours of Alfa Romeo.
The C37 already looks to be an improvement on the C36 the team were running last year, with a lot of new aerodynamic revisions. Like Red Bull and Williams, Sauber have gone for an aggressive aero set up with the sidepods. The sidepods are smaller with a lot more intricate winglet detail around them, something that has been a trend of the 2018 cars so far.
It won’t just be the advancement in the aero that will improve the Sauber this year, as the team will now be running this season’s Ferrari engines in their car. In 2017 the team opted to run the 2016 Ferrari power unit which led to a huge deficit towards the end of the year, as current engine improvement outstripped the 2016 engines. With this years Ferrari engine’s the team should be in a better place to challenge other teams.
Technical director Jorg Zander said of the new car in a press release: “The philosophy is much different to that of the C36. The aerodynamic concept has changed significantly, and the C37 has several new features in comparison to its predecessor. We are positive that the new concept offers us more opportunities and will help us to make improvements during the course of the season. The 2018 Ferrari engine will also give us a boost in terms of our performance.”
All of this has come about thanks to the deal with Alfa Romeo, which has strengthened the teams ties to Ferrari. Indeed Sergio Marchionne, the President of Ferrari, also serves as the president of Alfa Romeo. The long term technical partnership between Sauber and Alfa Romeo has been widely supported, and will see Alfa Romeo return to Formula 1 after a 33 year absence.
Sauber are the fourth longest-serving team currently in F1 after Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, but were distant back runners in 2017. The team finished the Constructors Championship in 10th, and therefore last place. It was Pascal Wehrlein who scored the all of the five points Sauber accumulated last year, though the German and Mercedes young driver will not be returning to the Swiss team this year.
At the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2017 it was announced Monisha Kaltenborn was stepping down effective immediately from her position as Sauber team principal. While not confirmed by the team it was understood she left as she didn’t want to give Marcus Ericsson the number 1 driver status that the teams swiss backers were demanding for him. Instead wanting to give both drivers an equal chance. She was replaced by Frederic Vasseur who will be going into his first full season as Sauber Team Principal.
Ericcson was kept on as a Sauber driver for the 2018 season, his fourth with team, but he will have to prove himself worthy of his seat. The Swede can do this by scoring points for the team, a feat he has not managed since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix 48 races ago.
He will be joined by the very highly-rated Ferrari protege, F2 champion, and F1 rookie Charles Leclerc. Leclerc has been tipped by many to be a driver to watch out for after his utter domination of the F2 series last year. The Ferrari young driver will be looking to gain experience in Formula 1, for when he will inevitably be called up to Ferrari.
“I am very much looking forward to the 2018 season, and to seeing Marcus and Charles on track,” Vasseur said during a press release about the car. “We have put lots of effort and hard work into the C37 over the last few months, and it is fantastic to be launching the new car today. I am convinced that Marcus and Charles form the perfect driver line-up, with one being an experienced driver and one a promising rookie. Our target ahead of 2018 is clear: We have to catch up with the field and continue improving our performance during the course of the season.”
Renault will release their car today at 3PM UK time online. A full report will be available on Overtake Motorsport soon after the release.
2018 car unveilings and launch dates
Haas: February 14, VF-18
Williams: February 15, FW41
Red Bull: February 19, RB14
Sauber: February 20, C37
Renault: February 20, 3PM Online
Mercedes: February 22, Silverstone
Ferrari: February 22, Online
McLaren: February 23, TBC
Toro Rosso: February 26, Barcelona
Force India: To be confirmed