If there were any doubt that Formula One is a full-year endeavor, a recent interview with Sauber Petronas technical director Willy Rampf brings a close to those thoughts. Rampf, charged with design and construction of each year's F1 ...
If there were any doubt that Formula One is a full-year endeavor, a recent interview with Sauber Petronas technical director Willy Rampf brings a close to those thoughts.
Rampf, charged with design and construction of each year's F1 challenger from the Swiss-based team admitted early on that design changes for the 2005 season have been on the table and heading to the wind tunnel since before Monaco this May.
"Work on the Sauber Petronas C24 is already in full swing," Rampf stated. "In the middle of May we had the first concept meeting and in July we started the actual design." With the expected technical changes in Formula One regulations for the coming year, Rampf is proceeding to adjust aerodynamics for his 2005 challenger.
"The diffuser will be lowered, the front wing will be raised by 50mm and the rear wing is being moved toward the front by 150mm," Rampf advised. "While all of these measures reduce downforce, we are aiming to compensate as much as we can."
While no decision has been forthcoming from the majordomos in Formula One concerning regulations for the 2005 campaign, "the way the situation looks at the moment, we are proceeding from the assumption that the new rules will go into effect next year," Rampf admitted.
To avert a potential loss of downforce in the 2005 C24, Rampf and his crew have been working the team's new wind tunnel to the maximum and performing tests aimed to give the team direction, based on the planned rules amendments. Rampf said, "The C24 will be the first Sauber race car developed completely in the new wind tunnel. This fact makes it a very special car for us."
While the tunnel could be made available for customer use, at this time "we've been using the wind tunnel strictly for our own purposes and this won't change in the foreseeable future." Continuing to learn about the equipment and its abilities, Rampf believes Sauber's "primary aim is to continue improving our [own] performance and working together with customers would only distract us from our own tasks."
The addition of the wind tunnel has "given us the right tool to work with," Rampf said of the staff who have been with Sauber Petronas for a long time. "In the past we were lacking this most critical piece of the puzzle and, in particular our aerodynamicists were often targets of unjustified criticism," he proclaimed.
The fact that this criticism was unjustified is now "a special source of motivation for them. They have some very interesting ideas for the new car which," Rampf noted, "we are reviewing at the moment. I have full confidence in our engineers and I am convinced the C24 will be competitive" in the 2005 F1 season.
While the Sauber Petronas team intends to continue its affiliation with Ferrari, the squad intends to revert to an in-house transmission, which it had utilized prior to this year. "Our specialists have already started work on the new C24 gearbox. Retaining our in-house technical competence," Rampf declared, "is an essential requirement as far as we are concerned.
"This applies to all central area like aerodynamics, carbon fibre production and to the design of the gearbox," he continued. This gives us technical independence, thus enabling us to make any adjustments to changing general conditions which may be required," Rampf noted as he made inference to the ever-changing F1 technical environment.
The C24 Sauber Petronas will likely be introduced, as are most Formula One next-year challengers, shortly after the first of the year.