Compare the new 2017 Sauber with last year’s model

2017 F1 cars

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Sauber has become the second team to give us a look at a 2017 Formula One car – and the first to show one ‘in the flesh’.

How does their new racer compare to its predecessor? Take a closer look with these interactive images.

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Use the slider below to transition between images of Sauber’s new 2017 C36 and last year’s C35. Note some images may have been altered for ease of comparison and should not be used as a reference for measurements.

Front view

Mercedes used a split airbox in 2010
Sauber describes its new car for 2017 as being more “muscular” than its predecessor. This is a result of rules permitting an increase in overall width (from 1,800mm to 2,000mm) and significantly wider tyres. Both are easy to appreciate from the images above.

The new car’s airbox treatment is one of its most striking features. The split intake recalls the style introduced by Mercedes at the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix, which Force India and Lotus adopted the following season.

The distinctive ‘thumb tip’ nose remains and there is no indication the team is pursuing the ‘S-duct’ concept. However the front wing is new and follows the ‘delta’ shape required by the new regulations.

With both front and rear wheels growing in size and weight, the C36’s suspension components are noticeably thicker than on last year’s car. The lower, wider rear wing with twisted supports is typical of what we can expect to see on other cars.

Side view

This image reveals just how much larger the bargeboards can be on the 2017 cars. Sauber’s design is a straightforward on to begin with, those as with all surface aerodynamic components they are likely to be upgraded in the near future.

The engine cover has sprouted a large ‘shark fin’ of the kind last seen in 2010. Sauber have left it unpainted in these publicity images. The angled rear wing is another intentional feature of the new rules.

Although the team is using a 2016-specification Ferrari power unit, Sauber says the rest of the C36’s parts are brand new with zero carry-over from last year’s design. Having a proven engine the back should allow them to hit the ground running in testing and the opening races.

Three-quarter view

Sauber C35, 2016
Sauber C36 three-quarter, 2017

View more pictures of the Sauber C36

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    64 comments on “Compare the new 2017 Sauber with last year’s model”

    1. will we have articulated cars by 2030?
      they keep getting longer and longer…

      1. The cars have remained the same length as last year haven’t they?

        1. I’m not sure if the wheelbase has changed but with overall length certainly has. The length now has a front wing that is much further forward and a rear wing which sticks out backwards

          1. My initial feeling is that this new generation of cars seem really big agreeing with how are describing it

            1. They are bigly yuge

      2. The drivers are dwarfing inside the cars. First security reasons, perfectly reasonable progression there, now the cars are longer than small hatchbacks even long hatchbacks of today and the cars are also heavy, like the old Indycars.

      3. The length masks the increased width, which disappoints me. They don’t look wide enough and the difference is hard to know except in comparison shots.

        1. oh well, at least we can enjoy head on shots as they come down the straights.

          1. Yeah, I guess so

        2. @pt I think we need to see them on track to judge how the proportions look in action

          1. I’m still hopeful for now

            1. Can’t wait for the testing shots. If only some team would, for promotional or educational purposes, run a 2016 car and 2017 car on track at the same time

    2. Too bad about the shark fin, the shape of the engine cover is beautiful!

      And look at how thin the front tires look on the 2016 car. I’m already used to the new tires. Looks way better!

      1. The fin is terrible but you are right @clemenswenners, the engine cover line is absolutely gorgeous!!

      2. Man! they need to make the liveries interesting. it makes the whole car look boring.

      3. Wouldn’t mind if they painted a nice big driver’s number on the shark-fin. Might even look good on the black background.

      4. I totally agree. The shark fin is very ugly and aesthetically, very unpleasing!
        The car would look much, much better without it. Even if it helps with aerodynamics they should ban them from all F1 cars!

    3. From the side, I must say that I prefer the 2016 car. But that livery is great, they improved it from looking like a delivery truck to a much more sophisticated looking car.

    4. Looks great! Startled by the front wing. They must really be trying to use the floor for downforce compared to last year

    5. Those sidepods seems very small indeed.

      1. They are more robust than the 2016 versions, higher

    6. The new car looks so much better !! Except for the shark fin not sure why people cant see an great improvement there.

    7. Great 2016-17 comparisons so far, are we gonna get one of these for every car?

      1. @fjbh10 Keith normally does them for all the cars :)

        Good job as always Keith

    8. F1 cars finally looking like the beasts they’re supposed to be, gp2 cars have looked more impressive for the past so many seasons

    9. It’s a tragic sight really, the lack of sponsors. Remember even 15 years the flotsam down the pack would still be liveried up and have sponsors everywhere. Can you imagine a midfield no-hoper like Arrows getting (beautiful) corporate sponsorship from the likes of Orange or Jordan having such a long partnership with a major tobacco company these days? Maybe they were right when they said coming off F1’s tobacco addiction might kill it.

      1. remember when the 90s cars where stuffed with sponsors on side pods and the back wing ,the cars do feel barren in that aspect…

    10. LovelyLovelyLuffield
      20th February 2017, 12:45

      All I see there in the 2017 car is “Rothmans”. Like, that white part just needs the text “Rothmans” in the livery.

      1. Ah.. yes! thanks for that! I’ve been scratching my head trying to remember what it reminded me of.. (being a non-smoker !) The thick/thin gold coachline is WELL retro 70’s , isn’t it. Another poster used the word “sophisticated” which is spot -on.. I like it.

    11. Seeing them side by side like that I absolutely love it. Looks so much more aggressive, not unlike those “futuristic” concepts we sometimes see. Hope this trend continues!

    12. Livery reminds me of the Pragra Kart brand.

    13. So far these cars look mean but not as exotic as my imagination was giving me. They still look impressive though.

      1. agreed – but still a darn sight more like what i want a modern F1 car to look like.

        mmmmmm – i like

    14. Looks a really good design, in many ways similar to the Williams… It is such a shame they’re running the 2016 PU.

    15. With the 2016 Ferrari engine, the best hope for them is to try to “do a Haas” and collect points in the first 4 rounds of the season. Let’s hope that this will help getting more funding, as I wish them to be a solid mid field team again.

    16. Looks are much better, but weren’t we going to get rid of the ugly noses?

      1. Post nasal drip is tough to treat.

    17. Clucky (@cluckyblokebird)
      20th February 2017, 15:22

      I think it looks absolutely fantastic. Sidepods look like something from a Japanese anime. Roth man’s colours are great. More of this please.

      1. If looks was anything to go by… …such a gorgeous-looking car! Hope the rest of the field will look as good or failing that, that for once great looks translates into great performance. But that’s just wishful thinking, I’m afraid.

    18. Clucky (@cluckyblokebird)
      20th February 2017, 15:23

      I think it looks absolutely fantastic. Sidepods look like something from a Japanese anime. Rothman style colours are great. More of this please.

    19. Thanks for side by side comparison. Looks like for Sauber atleast rear wing loosing too much height compared to last years car.

      1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        21st February 2017, 1:45

        That’s part of the new regulations, all cars will have this.

    20. It would be great to compare the Williams and the Sauber too!

    21. Really good-looking for a car that’s probably going to be a wheelie bin. And I’m probably alone in liking the return of the shark fin.
      Having said that, with Manor’s sickening (and needless) demise this poor sod will be trundling around at the back on its own.

    22. This reminds me of McDonald’s, the excitement you feel when you see their adverts only to be massively disappointed when you open the box and see a burger that looks like it’s survived a nuclear bomb……

      1. LOL

    23. Personally , I like the look.

      It looks like it’s on Beast Mode !

      Yes the white space looks like a turn off, but I hope some cool sponsors come up there to complete the look.

    24. Jeez, it is terrifying to see the return of the roll-over blade replacing the traditional hoop making up the airbox. Thankfully we survived 2 seasons without any of the previous blade-equipped cars rolling over back in 2010. I thought they had changed the rules to outlaw this design?

      It is clearly a weaker structural shape than a hoop, as its singular cantilevered form lacks very direct paths to transfer lateral loads down into the chassis. It might pass the crash tests, but I would not want to rely on it dealing with a real-world crash. Do the crash tests for it include dynamic loads, or are only static? Obviously they would have had to beef it up to get such a poor structure through a test, but it will be very poorly suited to hitting a kerb or digging into grass.

      I pray that this doesn’t become a theme of this years’ cars’ designs, particularly considering the heightened risk of dangerous mechanical failures in the first half of the season as they resize all the components to cope with the higher speeds. Mark my words, this should have been stopped properly by the FIA last time.

      1. I am trying to understand your point in more simple terms. In essence, the old structure was the hoop, which was what we saw on most cars since 2012, and this is a single structure, which doesn’t distribute the pressure (or loads) as well?

        1. Sure. I’ll do my best. If you apply a sideways load to the top of a roll hoop, the curvature at the top allows the load to smoothly turn a corner from sideways to a downward load into the chassis, to put one side into compression (crushing) along the hoop’s nearly vertical lower part. The other near vertical part on the other side is put into vertical tension (extension), and that tensile load similary can follow the curved part of the hoop to turn the corner and further resist the lateral load.

          In a blade structure, the abrupt 90 degree change in the direction of the load path creates a stress concentration, multiplying the work the structure has to do to resist it.

          The loads are doing broadly similar things, with one side going into compression and the other tension, but the narrow distance between its 2 sides reduces the structure’s leverage. To put this into contex, if we take a solid beam made of single material, its stiffness is proportional to the cube of its thickness. So doubling its thickness would increase its stiffness by 8 times. This is often too heavy, so a more efficient structure could be made by instead splitting it into two, and ideally joining the two thinner beams with a lightweight material or with thin triangulated trusses, like the trusses in an electrical transmission tower, or indeed, the paper or aluminium honeycomb sandwiched between the two layers of carbon fibre making up an F1 car’s chassis. A rollover hoop needs to let air through the middle of it, so they don’t add this bridging material between the two beams, but it’s still a lot better than just one thick beam.

          As for my fear over dynamic vs static load, I am a little less confident in my understanding of why it would be *disproportionately* bad for a blade vs a hoop. But I think having a fundamentally less efficient structure with a greater stress concentration factor is unlikely to help in such a scenario.

          Blimey, that was all a bit much. Sorry, let’s try a different tack:

          OK, try standing with your feet spread apart and ask a mate to punch you. Now try keeping your feet together and ask him to punch you again. Are you on the floor now? I my rest my case.

    25. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      20th February 2017, 20:09

      That is one beautiful car! Even the shark fin works in black. Crazy how disproportionate the 2016 car looks on the first top down pic, the front tyres look so skinny. I think the new regs look much more ‘natural.’

    26. @keithcollantine can I make a suggestion? Could we have this slides between teams? With the rules overall it could be quite interesting the comparison between teams

    27. I’m a little concerned about the lack of room in the new regulations. We’ve seen two cars so far and if they were painted the same way, it would be hard to tell them apart. Have we been secretly entered a spec series? I hope the other teams look different….

    28. Is that it? Sure it looks okay and a bit better than last year, but after all the hype it is a bit underwhelming.

      1. Agree. Had the chance to reduce the width of those ridiculous and vulnerable multi-multi element front wings – instead they chose to make them wider. Still…great news for the carbon fibre industry – more broken wings = more $$$.

      2. I thought the same as you but I truly believe once we see these cars on track it will look that much better than the pictures, I mean flat out through corners just the way it should be. They look scary to me, massive tyres and a low wing. Too bad they’ll sound like kitty cats when they should be roaring like lions!

    29. Still very clean sidepods themselves. Are those tuning vanes and such, like we last knew in 2008, ever coming back?

    30. Winglets galore. Wouldn’t mind a slight restriction on the aero kite nibble twiddle thing. “Add a wing here and a little thingy here…” Feels… “fiddly”

    31. Michael Brown (@)
      20th February 2017, 22:31

      I never knew that Mercedes split airbox existed. It looks cool.

    32. I have no qualms with the new design regulations beyond the diagonally-slanted rear wing endplates. It looks out of place and disproportionate to the rest of the car in profile, and I can’t fathom any aerodynamic advantage that would be gained from it.

    33. Would love it without the shark fin! i reckon that’s what lets it down. These cars look huge

    34. Come on Sauber, stick some gold wheel rims on… go on, go on, go on…

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