The new BMW Sauber F1.08.
For Technical Director Willy Rampf the philosophy behind the race car for the 2008 season boils down to what he calls "evolutionary new development". In other words, last year's car already provided the engineers with a sound basis for the BMW Sauber F1.08, and they did not have to spend time correcting faults. Instead they were able to use knowledge gained over the course of the 2007 season and channel their energies into the development of innovations which build on this basis.
The engineers' development work focused on achieving a high level of aerodynamic efficiency coupled with a stable aero balance: the lower the loss of downforce through corners, the faster the car can travel and the greater the confidence it gives the driver. Other development aims included improving mechanical grip in order to make the best possible use of the standard tyres and reducing the weight of various components to allow maximum use of ballast in optimising weight distribution.
A particularly eye-catching feature of the F1.08 is the mighty front wing. Having said that, the car's nose has actually slimmed down - in equal measure to the rear end. The narrower engine cover has been designed with all-new extra wing elements. Another new and immediately noticeable feature are the hub caps, or "rim shields".
Two changes to the regulations have had a major effect on the construction of the cars for the 2008 season: the introduction of standardised electronics (SECU) and the new running time stipulation for the gearboxes (developed in Munich), which must now endure over four grands prix. Since the SECU does not allow for traction control, among other functions, mechanical grip and sensitive accelerator control will gain in importance.
"The data which the F1.08 has delivered ahead of its roll-out is extremely promising," says Rampf. "The development work will continue at full speed up to the start of the new season. Indeed, another aero package will be added to the F1.08 at the forthcoming test, and this will also alter the external appearance of the car once again."
Development phase reaches its conclusion.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team was consistently the third-strongest team in 2007 and finished the season in second place in the standings following the exclusion of McLaren Mercedes from the Constructors' World Championship. The team completed its debut season of 2006 in fifth place in the World Championship. Its drivers recorded two podium finishes in each of its first two years - three third places and one second place.
Alongside the unrelenting schedule of the race and testing calendar, the BMW Sauber F1 Team also had to focus on the development of the team in terms of personnel and logistics during its first two years on the grid. Rigorous expansion work has been carried out at its Hinwil base near Zurich since BMW took over the team on 1st January 2006. With its workforce having grown by some 150 people, the team moved into the new extension to the Swiss plant in late 2007. The development and construction of the entire powertrain still takes place in Munich - under the watchful eye of Markus Duesmann - next door to the BMW Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ).