Sauber launched their 2003 challenger at Swissotel, Z?rich-Oerlikon, on February 9th in what was a laid-back, friendly event. After the host's introduction, Peter Sauber took to the stage in front of the invited press and guests. "It is our goal to play a key role in the vanguard of teams chasing the top three," he said. "In view of seven competing works teams this is an ambitious goal, but I'm confident that we'll be able to reach it."
"Although the C22 is new in practically every detail, the car has been running with absolute perfection right from the start," said Heidfeld. "That's the right basis for scoring points regularly."
Returning to Sauber, the team he started his F1 career with, Frentzen was equally optimistic: "The C21 was very quick in qualifying," he said of last year's car. "But there were inconsistencies in the race. The target of the C22 was to take the talent of being quick and add the reliability. We are quicker and very reliable (in winter testing) so we are progressing well."
Technical director Willy Rampf added: "We've used a completely new design approach in creating this vehicle. Compared to its predecessor, we're expecting it to offer a significantly higher potential that we'll be able to exploit throughout the season."
Continuing its partnership with Ferrari, Sauber's 03A Petronas-badged engine is lighter and more powerful than its predecessor and has a lower centre of gravity. "The Petronas 03A is a very competitive engine and well integrated into the C22," said Osamu Goto, Head of Sauber Petronas' engine department.
Sauber also introduced new sponsors Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), a Russian mobile phone company, which will join Petronas, Credit Suisse and Red Bull as partners. "In a difficult economic environment we've managed to lock in a package of solid financial backing," said Peter Sauber. "I believe we (Sauber) have made a good name for ourselves, we are reliable."
The Sauber launch was quietly confident and, for a privateer team, impressively and impeccably presented without being garishly ostentatious. If it can compete the 2003 season with the same aplomb, it should indeed live up to its potential.
Official designation : Sauber Petronas C22
Chassis : Carbon fibre monocoque
Engine : Petronas 03A
Suspension : Upper and lower wishbones (front and rear), inboard springs
and dampers, actuated by pushrods (Sachs Race Engineering)
Brakes : Six piston calipers (front and rear), carbon pads and discs (Brembo)
Transmission : Longitudinally mounted, seven-speed transmission (Sauber),
carbon clutch (Sachs Race @Engineering)
Chassis Electronics : Magneti Marelli
Tyres : Bridgestone 265/55R13 front, 325/45R13 rear
Wheels OZ : 12J-13 front, 13.7J-13 rear
Length 4470 mm
Width 1800 mm
Height 1000 mm
Front track 1470 mm
Rear track 1410 mm
Wheel base 3100 mm
Weight 600 kg (Driveable car including driver, tank empty)
Official designation : PETRONAS 03A
Number of cylinders : V10
Cubic capacity : 2997 cc
Cylinder block : Aluminium
Number of main bearings : 6
Number of camshafts : 4 OHC
Camshaft drive interlocked
Number of valves : 40
Valve mechanism : pneumatic
Ignition system : Magneti Marelli
Injection system : Magneti Marelli