The nose immediately catches the eye. The new S apart from C29 it wears even higher than Ferrari and McLaren. And it is hollowed out even more at the bottom until it hits the floor plate at cockpit level. 'We ran through several nose shapes and heights in the wind tunnel,' says technical director Willy Rampf. 'That was quite an effort, because you have to change the suspension points and the front wing every time.'
Front wing hung far back
Unlike with McLaren and Ferrari put the pylons that hold the front wing at the back of the nose, but then reach strongly forward. The wing itself is thus placed further forward. The unusual arrangement makes it possible for the air to flow in the direction of the underbody even more smoothly. And that's what this year is about. The double diffuser needs a lot of air and it needs clean air. In other words, without turbulence.
The Rampf team also took an extreme path with the side pods. They are cut 30 centimeters thicker at the bottom. 'You can almost only see the floor slab,' says Rampf. The stronger the indentation, the better the air on the side box. And the better it arrives at the top of the floor at the back, the more the diffuser is supported in extracting the air. This is important because in cars 15 centimeters longer, the air under the vehicle also slows down more due to friction. So you have to increase the suction effect of the diffuser.
Extreme double diffuser
The double diffuser was hidden when the C29 first appeared. But it is much more extreme than the previous year's version. 'When viewed from behind, you can look far ahead through the diffuser,' says Rampf, describing the large black hole in the rear, on which so much depends in terms of downforce.
Rampf describes the challenge that the new regulations pose for engineers , so: 'We had to find the best compromise between the requirements of aerodynamics and mechanics.' The long wheelbase makes the cars a little more unwieldy, on the other hand, the length helps keep the center of gravity low. Those who prefer to build the tank high and wide instead of long may have gambled away. 'The higher the center of gravity, the more the tires suffer,' says Rampf.
Big tank andnarrow front tires
The 100 liter larger tank volume and the front tires, which have shrunk from 270 to 245 millimeters, have had a decisive influence on the shape of the car. 'Both things had an impact on the wheelbase, weight distribution and center of gravity.' Basically: 'Because of the narrower front tires, more weight moves backwards. In relation to the front tires are more at the limit, exactly the opposite of 2009. It will depend on how you keep them alive in the race with the high starting weight.'
Rampf has known since August that a Ferrari engine and the associated carbon transmission from Maranello will do their job in the rear. The first drawings came in September. 'The integration brought us a lot of work. Less the engine itself, but its environment, such as the cooling.' The new transmission forced the Sauber designers to convert the rear axle that had already been drawn. 'The transmission defines the articulation points,' explains Rampf.
C29 is to continue the Sauber legacy
The new Sauber C29 fully developed on the computer. Then you moved into the wind tunnel. 'In the end we just ran through details like the brake scoops and the cooling on the CFD computer.' The first part of the development is practically complete with the exception of the rear crash test that is still outstanding.
A new aero package is already making its debut in Bahrain. 'It will be a normal evolution,' Rampf explains, 'we can no longer afford to take big steps before the start of the season. We have to calculate more than we did last year.' Finally, a numbers game: Why C29? Because the last real Sauber was called the C24 in 2005. You just kept counting the numbers that were left out by the BMW years.