The Sauber F1 team have launched their new Ferrari-powered C31 at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in eastern Spain on Monday. The car will be the last Sauber with the inputs of departing technical director James Key who left the Swiss team just three days ago.
Sauber F1 have retained their driver line-up of Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi and Mexico's Sergio Perez. Perez' compatriot Esteban Gutierrez will be the team's reserve driver while he focuses on a campaign in the GP2 Series.
The C31 is powered by the same 2,398cc, V-8 powerplant that sits in the engine bay of the Ferrari F2012. The car will also be using the same gearbox, drivetrain and KERS unit.
The engineers opted again to go with a high chassis design. However, according to the new 2012 regulations, the nose cone needs to be lower, which is a safety requirement. As a result, the nose cone has quite a different shape to how it was in the past. The chassis itself shows absolute minimum cross sections all the way to the cockpit.
The front nose cone section does, in fact, look quite similar to the one on the F2012. This is most likely a function of the car having much of the same engine related mechanical components to the Ferrari that would dictate the height of the car's driver-tub.
The front suspension has a traditional layout with a pushrod and a high-level wishbone. The dampers and springs are packaged quite differently compared to the C30 in order to support a new philosophy for the set-up of the front suspension.
The rear suspension is now a pullrod design. It shows a long pullrod towards the front of the gearbox and wide angled wishbones.