Hinwil/Zurich - 9 February 2003 - Sauber Petronas today unveiled their C22 racer for the 2003 Formula 1 season, along with presenting a new sponsor, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), to international media representatives in Zurich.
Team Principal Peter Sauber, as well as drivers Nick Heidfeld (25) and Heinz-Harald Frentzen (35), are looking towards the new season with great confidence.
"It is our goal to play a key role in the vanguard of teams chasing the top three," said Peter Sauber. "In view of seven competing works teams this is an ambitious goal, but I'm confident that we'll be able to reach it."
In the previous two seasons, Sauber Petronas has achieved fourth and fifth place respectively in the Constructors' Championship.
The' drivers are optimistic as well: Nick Heidfeld who, in his third season with the team, also had his third opportunity of performing the roll-out of the new car, was particularly impressed by its remarkable reliability: "Although the C22 is new in practically every detail, the car has been running with absolute perfection right from the start. That's the right basis for scoring points regularly."
Having returned to Sauber Petronas for the 2003 season, Heinz-Harald Frentzen is particularly pleased with the handling of the new car: "The C22 has an excellent balance, responding to any changes in the setup exactly the way I expect as a driver. I'm convinced that this car has a very high potential."
In addition to presenting the new car, Peter Sauber was able to announce another new sponsor: the Russian mobile telephone provider Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), with whom the team had just signed an agreement for the period of several years.
Mobile TeleSystems (MTS, NYSE: MBT) are the major mobile telephone provider in Russia and Eastern Europe. MTS and their subsidiaries own the mobile phone licenses (GSM 900/1800) for 56 regions in Russia with 103 million people, which equates to 72 percent of the entire Russian population. At the moment, MTS are active in 47 of these regions. Within the first nine months of 2002, MTS recorded net profits of 191.9 million U.S. dollars on revenues of 952.5 million U.S. dollars.
"In a difficult economic environment we've managed to lock in a package of solid financial backing," Peter Sauber said with obvious contentment. "Nine days ago, Red Bull decided to extend their partnership with us, and now we've been able to secure MTS as another sponsor. This underscores the appeal of our team. Together with our sponsors, Petronas and Credit Suisse, we now have a solid basis for our forward-looking strategy, which includes the construction of our ultra-modern wind tunnel adjacent to our Hinwil plant."
Following its media launch, the Sauber Petronas C22 will be unveiled in a public forum as part of the "Car on Ice" show staged at the Zurich-Oerlikon indoor sports arena at 6.15 this evening. The show will feature a combination of Formula 1 elements with world- class figure skating and live music. In addition to the spectacular presentation of the Sauber Petronas C22, other highlights will include a 'retrospective' of Sauber's ten- year history in Formula 1 as well as the participation of former Sauber drivers Jean Alesi, Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Karl Wendlinger.