The latest 2014 Formula One car to be revealed is the Sauber C33. The first images were made available by Sauber on Sunday afternoon. The car is powered by a Ferrari 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged hybrid “power plant”. The C33 will be driven by Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.
The car features the larger sidepods, lower nose and rear-exiting exhaust required by the 2014 regulations. The images released do not provide a clear picture of the exact design of the nose, although it appears that the nose is similar to that seen on the Williams and McLaren thus far.
Of the teams to have unveiled their 2014 cars thus far, only Ferrari has provided an image of the rear of their car. Sauber have been just as secretive as the rest of the teams when it comes to their diffuser and have not released an image taken from behind the car.
The C33 will make its track debut tomorrow morning in Jerez, Spain.
Sauber are the first team to announce that their 2013 car has passed the FIA’s mandatory safety tests. The car can now be run in winter testing and is approved, from a safety point of view, for racing in the 2013 season.
The announcement also confirms the model number (C32) of the new car, and that it will be run at the first test in Jerez, Spain which starts on 5 February 2013. The car is not the only new part of the team for next season – an all-new driver line-up of Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutiérrez and test and reserve driver Robin Frijns will contest the 2013 championship for Sauber.
Sauber have signed Mexican driver Estaban Gutiérrez to race alongside Nico Hulkenberg in 2013. Gutiérrez has been Sauber’s test and reserve driver during 2011 and 2012 while he has been competing in GP2, but has now been promoted into a full-time Formula One race seat.
Sauber’s announcement confirms that Kamui Kobayashi is out of a drive for next season. The exciting and often sideways Japanese driver had a promising start to his Formula One career late in 2009 for Toyota and was signed by Sauber from 2010. He impressed during 2010 and 2011 but has had a fairly lacklustre 2012, apart from an emotional first podium at his home race in Japan. Unfortunately for Kobayashi, it is becoming increasingly difficult for drivers to find seats based solely on talent, and he is now seeking sponsorship to assist in finding a drive for next season.
Gutiérrez has already proven his talent, taking the inaugural GP3 title in 2010 and finishing third in GP2 in 2012. He first tested for BMW Sauber in 2009 and has since been run by Sauber at the annual Young Driver Test. The young Mexican is only 21 years old, which raises questions about whether or not he has the necessary experience for Formula One. In the current tough economic climate, he has likely been rushed into an F1 race seat in order to continue Sauber’s sponsorship relationship with Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim, which began when the team signed Sergio Perez who is moving to McLaren from next season.
It was highly likely that Gutiérrez would end up in Formula One anyway. He is certainly quick enough. Whether or not he is ready to race at the top level of motorsport will be revealed by his performance on the track in 2013.