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Things can only get better, or can they? Sauber relaunches for 2015

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Things can only get better, or can they? Sauber relaunches for 2015
Jan 30, 2015, 12:20 PM

A new-look Sauber team sought to put the past behind it and head into what it hopes will be a more confident future today as it launched its latest...

A new-look Sauber team sought to put the past behind it and head into what it hopes will be a more confident future today as it launched its latest F1 challenger for 2015, the C34 Ferrari and three new drivers: Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr and Ferrari protege Raffaele Marciello.

Last year was a watershed for the small Swiss team, which failed to score a single point, putting it behind the shoestring Marussia operation in the final Constructor's Standings for the first time.

Things can only get better, or can they? The smaller F1 teams still face strong headwinds, with little progress made on the uneven distribution of F1's central funds among F1 outfits and the larger teams continue to swallow up the new sponsors coming into the sport.

Sauber 2015 F1 car

The small and midfield teams face some tough economic conditions as they are reliant on just sponsor income plus their modest share of TV and prize money; they do not receive any of the substantial additional up-front bonus payments totalling $240 million which Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams receive (in that descending order).

Mercedes has recently brought in Epson as a significant new sponsor, while McLaren hoovered up the CNN deal from Caterham and is aggressively pursuing a £50 million title sponsor.

Williams has grabbed Unilever and Avenade from Lotus, as the money in F1 consolidates further around the elite outfits at the front of the grid.

In this climate, and knowing their prize money would be decimated by the poor performance Sauber, went into survival mode before the end of 2014 to avoid a commercial meltdown; the team signed up Ericsson, who comes with a rumoured $18 million, of which a substantial portion was available upfront and Nasr who brought around $10m, again with upfront payments.

ERA Remus

The new Sauber is visually a break from the past, with a blue livery, with yellow accent colours, the colours of the Banco do Brasil brand guidelines. It's a new look for Formula 1, but ironically, it is rather like the Thai national racing colours in the pre-war era when Prince Bira raced in Grands Prix (his old ERA "Remus" can be seen in the photo above)

A new look then to signal a corner being turned, and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn is keen to turn a new page,

"2014 was a very disappointing year. However, this is in the past, and we now focus on what comes next. We have learned our lessons and are confident for the new season," said Kaltenborn.

"We have to improve, and be able to fight for championship points."

Like many of the 2015 cars, the attention is drawn to the new nose section of the car, which is subject to new regulations. But the key for Sauber will be in increasing overall downforce, especially in the rear, drivability and they will be reliant on Ferrari having made some progress on the power unit.

The risk for Sauber is that they are the back marker team when the racing starts in Melbourne in March. Although strenuous efforts are being made by the former Marussia team, led by Graeme Lowden, to be in Melbourne with two cars, it looks a tall order, so Sauber will have to be careful. With Lotus having moved to Mercedes engines, this should lift them clear of the back markers in 2015 and this is Toro Rosso's 10th season and they ended the season with reasonable performance.
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Series Formula 1
Teams Sauber