Formula 1 Racing

Sauber F1 team joins Red Bull and McLaren in suspension shift

James Key, Alfa Romeo F1 Team Technical Director

That choice was made by Red Bull and McLaren when the current regulations were introduced in 2022, and new Sauber technical director James Key was still working at the latter team.

The success of Red Bull’s RB18 and RB19 models and McLaren’s surge in form last year inevitably led other teams to examine the option, and Sauber has decided to take the pull-rod route in search of an aerodynamic benefit, in conjunction with a totally new bodywork package.

Key, who started work at Sauber in September, says that the C44 has little in common with its disappointing predecessor.

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“It is virtually a completely new car, with a few carry-over areas at the rear of the car,” said Key.

“The team had to take an ambitious direction well before I joined. There are many mechanical changes, some of which you can’t see at all, but some are very visible.

“The front suspension is completely new, a tough and ambitious project for a team of our size.

“There are many aerodynamic changes, of course, as would be expected given that this remains the primary area of development – so, overall, the car will really look quite different to last year’s car.

“We took a lot of new, exciting directions, all of which appear to hold quite a bit of potential, so we’re looking forward to seeing them on track.”

James Key, Alfa Romeo F1 Team Technical Director

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Key acknowledged that over the past two years teams have converged in terms of their choice of concepts, while suggesting that there’s still room for different ideas.

“Since 2022, when these regulations came in, the cars have developed very rapidly, and there’s a lot of potential in a lot of areas of the car,” he said.

“Whilst those trends will probably continue into year three, there may be people who start bucking the trends as well, and we’ve got to watch out for that.

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“Some of those areas appear to be progressing quite a lot through the past couple of years, and I’m sure will do so this year as well.

“For example, the front suspension is very different on our new car, as we switched to a pull-rod front suspension, which some other teams have also adopted. This was a choice dictated by aerodynamics, not mechanical reasons.”

Key conceded that it was a challenge to make a bold aerodynamic step while also introducing mechanical changes to the car.

“It is…

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