James Key, Head of Technology, exclusively

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Sauber technical manager James Key exclusive
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How far are you with the new car?
J ames Key
: We have been dealing with the new car for a long time and are still working on it. We are in the middle of the development phase. The chassis and the front axle are ready and have been put into production. We are currently working on the rear axle. As far as aerodynamics are concerned, we're still developing, because we want to leave as much time as possible for it. The deadline remains open as long as possible. We're making progress, but that's been going on for several months and will continue until the first race.

When is the deadline?
: It depends. The deadline for the chassis was a month ago. The aerodynamics will be developed as long as possible. The time for the first race is around January or early February. But that only applies to the first race. After that we can still think about what to do next.

How far is your focus on the new car compared to the current one?
: We concentrate 90 percent on the new car. With the current car, we're still working on optimizing the setup for the final races and on small things that we can still improve. But that goes from race to race. There is no longer any major development step.

Can you keep your place in the Constructors' Championship with this?
: If things are like that develop like now, then I think so. That's why we came up with the plan. We're trying to take another step forward. It's close, but we have that goal. Besides, I don't think the others have anything up their sleeves either. It's just about doing the best job. We had a good race in Suzuka, but bad qualifying. We have to look at the weaknesses and sort them out. We are still working on the current car, but with the parts we have.

Are there any special challenges in developing the new car?
: Yes, there are two things that apply to everyone. I will now keep my fingers crossed that this is not the case with our car in particular. There's a big change to the diffuser, which will be a lot flatter next year. This has a big effect on aerodynamic development. There isn't much continuity from this to the nextYear because so much changes with the other diffuser. It's always difficult because you don't know how far you can go. We know the car is very good now and where the weak spots are, and we know what we're doing. But there is a bigger unknown next year. And the biggest problem for everyone is that we don't know what the tires are like. You have to design and develop in such a way that you still have leeway later to react to the tires.

That sounds like a lottery. Is that it?
: Yes, I think so. Pirelli gives the teams as much information as they have. We already have a base, but they're still developing. I think we won't really know what the tires will be like until the winter tests.

You have announced that you will be introducing new structures at Sauber. What happened there?
: We have changed the aerodynamics department a little - the structure of how it works. We split development among more people. We also made a few changes in the design office. We created new positions to bring in new people. We have also expanded the 'Vehicle Performance Group', which is responsible for the simulation and previously only consisted of two people.

Have you already decided on KERS?
: We still left that open. Because there are still a few unknowns such as aerodynamics and tires, we want to take a closer look at the simulation.

When do you want to decide?
There is currently no time pressure. We want to learn more about the tires and other things before we commit.


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