Sauber Interview with Willy Rampf, Technical Director Sauber Petronas Hinwil, 14 September 2004 Question: Have you already started building the new car for 2005? Willy Rampf: Work on the Sauber Petronas C24 is already in full swing. In the...
Sauber Interview with Willy Rampf, Technical Director Sauber Petronas
Hinwil, 14 September 2004
Question: Have you already started building the new car for 2005?
Willy Rampf: Work on the Sauber Petronas C24 is already in full swing. In the middle of May we had the first concept meeting, and in July we started the actual design.
Q: What is the impact of the new technical regulations?
WR: The major changes are in the area of aerodynamics. As such, the diffuser will be lowered, the front wing will be raised by 50 millimetres, and the rear wing is being moved towards the front by 150 millimetres. While all of these measures reduce downforce, needless to say, we are aiming to compensate for the loss in downforce as much as we can. Although there has been no final decision yet regarding the changes in regulations, the way the situation looks at the moment, we are proceeding from the assumption that the new rules will go into effect next year.
Q: How do you manage to minimise the loss in downforce?
WR: By doing a lot of wind tunnel work. We already started performing tests based on the new regulations some time ago. These tests are primarily aimed at giving us a general feeling for the direction in which we have to proceed. The C24 will be the first Sauber race car to be developed completely in the new wind tunnel. This fact makes it a very special car for us.
Q: Are you actually letting customers hire your wind tunnel?
WR: So far, we've been using the wind tunnel strictly for our own purposes, and this won't change in the foreseeable future. On the one hand it is important for us to have unlimited flexibility and on the other we are still at a stage of familiarising ourselves with the facility. Working together with customers would only distract us from our own tasks. Our primary aim is to continue improving our performance and such interruptions would interfere with this.
Q: Sauber Petronas have clearly made progress during the course of the season. Can this be attributed strictly to the wind tunnel or have you increased your technical team as well?
WR: We are working with the same people who have been with us for a long time, but now the new wind tunnel has given them the right tool to work with. In the past, we were lacking this most critical piece of the puzzle. Our aerodynamicists in particular were often the target of unjustified criticism and that fact, now, serves as a special source of motivation for them. They have some very interesting ideas for the new car which we are reviewing at the moment. I have full confidence in our engineers, and I am convinced that the Sauber Petronas C24 will be a competitive car.
Q: In order to design a new car, you have to know the engine. Will Ferrari continue to supply the PETRONAS engines?
WR: Yes, they will. In the coming year, as well, we will be using engines Ferrari are making on behalf of our partner PETRONAS. Overall, we are very satisfied with the engines supplied by Ferrari, which means that it absolutely makes sense for us to continue this cooperation. In 2005 it will be entering its ninth year already. Especially in the field of engineering, continuity is very important.
Q: In the current season, you have been using a Ferrari gearbox for the first time ever. Will you continue to do so in future as well?
WR: No, this year's solution has been an exception. All of our former cars, from the C12 to the C22, were always fitted with Sauber gearboxes. Our specialists have already started to work on the new gearbox for the C24. Retaining our in-house technical competence is an essential requirement as far as we are concerned. This applies to all central areas like aerodynamics, carbon fibre production and - just as well - to the design of the gearbox. This gives us technical independence, thus enabling us to make any adjustments to changing general conditions which may be required.