Tag Archives: James Key

First pictures of Sauber C31

Sauber have shown off their 2012 C31

Sauber have shown off their 2012 C31

Along with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, Sauber have released their 2012 car, the C31, today.

Just days ago, technical director James Key announced that he would be leaving the squad, posting a massive blow before the season has even started.

Regardless, the C31 has been described as “revolutionary where we had fresh ideas” by chief designer Matt Morris. He also stated that he believes that the exhaust blown diffuser ban will help the team:

"Because of the new definition in the rules we know that the disadvantages we had 
last year with a lack of the strong exhaust effect will be less of an issue for 
us now. As a result we evolved further our directions from C30 regarding the 
overall aero development of the car."
Side view of the Sauber C31

Side view of the Sauber C31

He also noted that the car will appear quite different at the first race in Melbourne, as more updates are added to the car.

Similar to last year, the car will be driven by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

Sauber drop appeal against disqualification

Sauber's disqualification will stand

Sauber's disqualification will stand

Sauber have announced that they are not to appeal their team’s disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix.

Both their drivers had done well to get into points-scoring positions, but the stewards have since ruled that the C30’s rear wing contained illegal sections. It has been confirmed that a radius on the upper rear wing element was several millimetres outside of the regulations.

Despite claiming that Kobayashi and Perez gained no advantage from the rear wing, Sauber have decided to go with the stewards’ decision. Technical director James Key stated:

"It did not bring us any performance advantage, but the fact is that it was a 
deviation from the regulations. We take note of the stewards' decision.

We have since found that there was an error in the checking process for the 
relevant dimension on this component. We have already put measures in place to 
ensure that nothing of this kind occurs again in the future."

 

Can James Key transform Sauber’s season?

In the first 3 races, Sauber have got 4 retirements and scored no points

In the first 3 races, Sauber have got 4 retirements and scored no points

If the results from testing were to be carried into the races, then Sauber would be title contenders, thanks to their seemingly fast pace and excellent tyre managment. But, so far, things have not gone well for the Himwil-based team. They have had no points in 3 races, and 4 retirements. Because of this, James Key will take over from Willy Rampf as Technical Director.

Key is not to be underestimated. He has spent 13 years with Force India in their various forms (Jordan, Midland/MF1, Spyker and Force India). In those years, he was a Data Engineer, Race Engineer for Takuma Sato, wind tunnel worker, department head, and then technical director. Though he was one of the youngest Technical Directors in F1, he has proven himself, which is why he has been picked to replace Willy Rampf.

So far, Sauber has had a terrible start, with only one race finish between the two drivers. Many people have wondered why, after starting 2010 development so early last year, they are now struggling at the back. Peter Sauber has explained the difficulties:

We’re experiencing a new beginning as a team and are in the process 
of adapting from a works outfit to an independent team. We’ve cut 
our budget by 40 per cent and reduced the workforce by a third. 
That’s a massive cutback. However, this economisation process is 
something all the other established teams still have ahead of them 
as a result of the restrictions imposed by FOTA.

With these sort of huge cutbacks, the team have a large hill to climb. But, if anyone can do it, i’m sure Key can. However, he has a lot of work to do. Since he has recently transferred from Force India, (he left there about a month ago) he hasn’t been to a race this year, nor has he even seen the Sauber C29. But, he is already hard at work, having been at the factory, and will be having meetings with Willy Rampf to get him used to the car.

I don’t think any of them are looking at the Chinese GP as a turn-around point. The next race, in Spain, will be much more important, as this is the first race in Europe, and most of the teams will be bringing large updates to their cars here. If Key is to transform Sauber’s season, then the Spanish Grand Prix will be the place.

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