Sauber has confirmed it has lengthened the wheelbase of its 2018 Formula 1 car, in a move that offers clues as to what partner team Ferrari may have done with its new challenger.
The Hinwil-based outfit revealed its aggressive new C37 on Tuesday, featuring Alfa Romeo branding on the back of a closer collaboration with Ferrari.
The new car has adopted a different aero and mechanical concept, including following the lead set by Mercedes and Toro Rosso last year of having high front wishbones to help clear up airflow underneath the chassis.
Intriguingly, the car’s wheelbase has been lengthened for aerodynamic reasons, with increasing suggestions that Ferrari has also elected to go longer with its car compared to last year.
Sauber technical director Jorg Zander said: “The C37 is an all new race machine. It is based on a much more innovative and radical aerodynamic concept. You will note that the nose and front wing concept has changed.
“The wheelbase has been changed which means the front axle is moved further forwards. This is in order to provide more space for turning elements in order to enhance aerodynamic performance.
“We also changed the wishbone height to a larger height in order to enhance aerodynamic performance and as well we changed the inboard suspension elements to a much more compact and lighter design. Further back to the car you will see the bodywork is much more slender.
“The packaging around the new cooling system is very tight. The design office has put a lot of effort into this.
“At the back of the car we have the new 2018 Ferrari engine which will power us of course to very good positions. We also have the gearbox of the Ferrari together with the Ferrari rear suspension – which meant we had to move the rear suspension by 40mm further backwards.”
Zander hopes that the C37 platform is one that delivers a stable car for drivers Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
Major updates on the car, which had its shakedown on Wednesday at Barcelona, are also set for the early phases of the season.
“There is a development plan in place for 2018 and we are going to introduce major upgrades on the aerodynamic package,” added Zander.
“There will be new floors and a new front wing, and perhaps also new bodywork elements being introduced.
“We split those in the beginning or first half of the season to some particular races. Later, in the second part of the season there will be some key upgrades presented.”