Sauber’s 2018 Formula 1 car will be “completely different” to the current design, says team principal Fred Vasseur.
The team is bottom in the constructors’ championship with five points and has increasingly found itself cut off from the midfield as the season has gone on.
Sauber has been hampered by running a 2016-spec Ferrari engine, while question marks over its future last year compromised the ’17 design programme.
Having taken over from Monisha Kaltenborn midway through this season, Vasseur acted quickly to call off a planned Honda deal and secure the latest spec Ferrari engine for what he called “a completely new” 2018 design.
“The car is already in the windtunnel and I think we are doing a decent job,” said Vasseur.
Sauber is still working out the exact nature of its partnership with Ferrari and whether it will involve any additional components, though Vasseur has previously suggested the collaboration will not go as far as Haas’s Ferrari arrangement.
“We are still discussing the parameters of the Ferrari collaboration, but [the carry over will] probably less than 20%,” Vasseur said.
“The current one [car] is 2016 so to try and carry over to 2018… we have to start from scratch.
“It’s also the reason the car [has] long [been] in the windtunnel.
“The global picture of the car will be completely different.”
This will be the first Sauber design that has been led by technical director Jorg Zander, who did not join the team until the eve of the 2017 season.
Vasseur understands the vast scale of the challenge ahead for Sauber, but feels if the team can boost its workforce, it can close the gap to the midfield.
“It’s always difficult to have a target because it will depend on the guys around us on the grid,” he said.
“It will be difficult to come back into the midfield. It’s a big step and there is no big change in the regulations for next year.
“All the other teams will have much better carryover than us.
“For me, the biggest challenge will be to increase the size of the company, to increase the performance of each department.
“If we’re able to do this, we will improve on the grid. The group in front of us is very close.
“I want to come back into the fight.”