Sauber has become the second Formula 1 team to reveal its 2017 championship challenger, releasing pictures of its Ferrari-powered C36 design after Williams Martini Racing unveiled its FW40 on Friday.

Unlike Williams, however, the Swiss team opted to use actual photos of its car – and it’s certainly a striking design.

To start with, there’s a change of colour scheme. Gone is the garish blue and yellow paint job of major sponsor Banco do Brasil – the same should be said for the bank’s money, regrettably – and in comes a special livery celebrating the team’s 25th season of Grand Prix racing.

The begins what it has described as a new era under the ownership of the Longbow Finance SA investment consortium. Sporting an eye-catching dark blue base with gold trim on its frony wing and flanks, the C36 is a completely new design.

It carries over no components or concepts from its 2016 predecessor, the C35 (which was itself a bare update of 2015’s C34, such was the team’s financial situation).

The C36 will run with the 2016 Abu Dhabi configuration of Ferrari’s V6 turbo hybrid powertrain (designation ‘061’). While the works Ferrari team and its other customer, the Haas F1 Team, will run with the more evolved 2017 engine design, Sauber knows that it has a proven, potent and reliable power unit at its disposal.

Sauber C36

The C36 design puts ‘greater emphasis on aerodynamic stability as opposed to maximising downforce’, according to technical director Jorg Zander.

The C36 follows the fundamental design principles of the 2017 technical regulations, with a deltoid shaped front wing and wider angled rear wing. Careful attention has been paid to shaping air flow around the side of the car, with the bargeboards, sidepod canards and turning vanes all being substantially profiled.

There are several more distinctive visual and aerodynamic features, with one being the decision to use a bladed rollover hoop and split airbox – a design concept used previously by Mercedes (2010), Force India and Team Lotus (both 2011). Being lighter than a traditional airbox concept, the design also allows for customised amounts of air flow into the ICU and turbocharger components of the power unit for enhanced cooling.

Beneath the main structure are a number of smaller air intakes, which are also likely to be used for the cooling of specific electrical components housed around the power unit.

Most noticeable of all is that the C36 features a large ‘shark fin’ engine cover, a concept we are likely to see being sported by a number of teams this year. The feature aids in improving cornering grip and providing more stable air flow to the lower rear wing.

The C36 will be piloted by Marcus Ericsson – who starts his third year with the Swiss team – and Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein. The latter is expected to miss the first pre-season test session at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona while he continues his recovery from a neck injury he sustained when he crashed competing in the Race of Champions.

Images via Sauber F1 Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.