What they said
Given that Sauber now have a close technical partnership with Ferrari, a part of which sees the Swiss team bringing the Alfa Romeo brand back to F1, it only makes sense that the first car produced by this partnership would be significant a departure from Sauber’s previous efforts.
“The car philosophy is much different to that of the C36,” said technical director Joerg Zander. “The aerodynamic concept has changed significantly, and the C37 has several new features in comparison to its predecessor.”
“We are positive that the new concept offers us more opportunities and will help us to make improvements during the course of the season. The 2018 Ferrari engine will also give us a boost in terms of our performance. We hope that we will make progress with the C37 and that we are more competitive compared to 2017.”
It will be fascinating to see how Sauber get on this year, and if they can get anywhere near the race-winning form they experienced last time they partnered up with a major manufacturer.
Renault took a somewhat combative tone with their announcement, giving the impression that the team see 2018 as a make or break situation, where the powers that be are banking on their investment coming good and the team moving up the grid.
"Our headline target is to show progression through results. Everything must improve," said Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport managing director.
“We want to be able to showcase our progression in every regard; power unit, chassis, operations, drivers. We want to demonstrate this in many different ways, from the teams we will be directly racing against, to the gap to the leaders, including also our fan base and the respect that our team will inspire in our way we behave on and off track.”
With the resources at their back, there's no reason why Renault can't make a big step this year; there could be serious repercussions if they don't!
A new year and a new technical partnership have brought a new livery for Sauber, and it sure is a looker! The Alfa Romeo branding has seen a return to a predominantly white livery, with Alfa logo over the back of the engine cover, which is that lovely shade of Alfa red.
The addition of new sponsors that were announced prior to the car launch has served to fill the blank space a bit more than in 2017, but overall the C37 retains a clean look that will look great on track I'm sure.
Maybe I am getting used to seeing the halo on the cars now, but the Sauber makes it work, and features interesting little cut outs and styling, plus additions on the top, that we haven't seen in as great a detail on the other cars yet, making the Sauber's halo one of the more interesting so far.
2018 sees the continued encroachment of black on yellow that we've seen over the past few seasons on the Renaults, but the effect in this instance is quite striking. More black, yet with a brighter shade of yellow than we've seen previously, plus some nice styling choices on the side-pods and engine cover, make this the pick of the bunch so far for me.
Again I think I might be getting used to the halo, but even compared with the Haas, which also featured a black halo, the Renault's just looks better and more integrated with the car's design. It also features some interesting little details, like what looks like aero channels cut along the outside of the front of the device.
I'm sure we will get a better look at these finer details once the cars are out in the wild and in front of the photographers, but it is interesting to see these little details early on in the cars development cycle.
Areas of interest
Aside from the halo on both cars, there are a few other details to note.
The main area of interest on the Sauber is where they differ from a lot of the teams who have launched so far, and that is in the side-pod design, specifically the air intakes. While most of the other teams have gone for a higher, thinner intake, Sauber have gone for quite wide intakes closer in to the body, a departure from their own design last season.
While this hasn't allowed them to have side-pods as sleek as some we have seen so far, it does look as if it has allowed them to go tighter at the back, resulting in quite an extreme lift in the lower bodywork towards the rear of the car, all of which is obviously aimed at maximising airflow efficiency.
Having the air intakes a touch lower compared to their rivals has also allowed Sauber to instal two layers of winglets below the wing mirrors. We've seen a similar concept on the Williams and Red Bull cars so far, but only with a single wing, so Sauber look as though they might have stolen a march, and a bit of extra downforce, on their rivals in this area.
What Sauber and other teams have, Renault seem to lack, especially in the area just discussed. The tops of the side-pods on the RS18 are relatively bare save for a few winglets on the top and small wings off to the side. There aren't the intricate vanes on the side of the cockpit that we've seen on the Red Bull or Williams.
This could of course be an area that the team intend to add to before Barcelona next week, and the winglets on the top are something different in themselves, and with a very interesting front wing design, which seems to be aimed at throwing more air over the front tyres than the other designs we've seen so far, the team seem to have plenty going for them so far.
We can only stop speculating when testing begins!
Is it next week yet...
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