Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber C31, Jerez, 2012

Sauber C31 launch – first pictures and video of Sauber’s 2012 F1 car

2012 F1 carsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine


Sauber have unveiled their contender for the 2012 F1 championship.

The C31 was revealed today in Jerez and will be driven by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez this season.

Sauber finished seventh in the championship last year. However just days before the launch of their new car the team announce technical director James Key, who had been with them since 2010, was leaving the squad.

Sauber C31, 2012
Sauber C31, 2012

Chief designer Matt Morris says the team’s 2012 F1 car is a combination of new ideas and concepts developed from its predecessor.

Following the launch of the Sauber C31 in Jerez, Morris said: “The C31 is revolutionary where we had fresh ideas, particularly at the rear of the car, and it is an evolution where we knew we could carry over certain approaches. We had to improve on the weaknesses we identified on the C30, but at the same time we wanted to maintain its strengths.

“We had established some good directions to go in towards the end of last year with the C30 which we wanted to continue with, particularly some of our DRS developments, and some of the ways we were opting for with the car?s set up in order to improve our qualifying performance without compromising our race pace.”

Morris added he expects the ban on exhaust-blown diffusers to 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.”

He added the car “will look quite different in Melbourne” once further upgrades are added to it.

Sauber C31 pictures

Kamui Kobayashi driving the Sauber C31


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132 comments on “Sauber C31 launch – first pictures and video of Sauber’s 2012 F1 car”

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  1. The car itself looks pretty tidy. Compact and conventional, pretty much what you’d expect from Sauber. The rear and sidepods in particular look very compact.

    I can’t understand what they’ve done with the livery. Why all the black? Why is the black/white division at the front bordered in red, whereas at the front they’ve used silver? Given the non-complementing colours in the Claro, NEC and Telmex logos, surely a plain white livery would have served them better? I’m no expert in design so perhaps someone can enlighten me, but to my eye it looks a complete mess.

  2. Is it just me or is this car a lot like the Ferrari?

    1. @Solo I don’t agree – look at the sidepods and exhaust position on the Ferrari:

      Ferrari F2012 key changes explained

      1. Yes but the shape of the engine cover is very similar. Also the nose is too and not just the step but those thick “what you call them i have no idea” that hold the frond wing.

  3. Richard F150 - I am not a truck
    6th February 2012, 11:31

    What’s that thing connected to the beam wing?
    Looks almost f-duct’y?

    1. It’s a support for the rear wing. Similar to Virgin’s last year:


  4. The engine cover is normal?I mean isn’t too small.I can see the suspension arms are uncovered.Is this legal?They have an interesting car but the livery is just horrible :(.

  5. It looks like all the other ones.

    The story of these launches shouldn’t be the ugly nose parade, it should be the total lack of variety and new ideas. I’m praying that Newey finds something interesting to do with this year’s regs.

  6. Does a gold nose make the STR a duckbilled platypus?

    Secret insight into the RB8


    1. Love the F2012 reference “Not so much Maranello as Manilow”.

      Can almost hear Felipe singing:

      “Well you came and you drove without overtaking
      And I sent you ahead, oh Nandy
      And you passed me and stopped me from winning
      And your faster than me today, oh Nandy”

  7. It’s like as if Sauber wanted to go back to C12 scheme but had a change of heart at the last minute.

    Also, that’s the skinniest duckbill we’ve seen so far. Koba better be careful with those!

  8. The best looking picture is the one of a smiling Perez without the car.

  9. Sauber is taking “The ugliest car of the year” competition quite seriously. They’re serious championship contender in that race for sure!

  10. Trying to find a simgle redeeming quality… nope, it’s not working.

    Livery looks like somebody slapped a lot of stickers on it at random.

  11. This is easily my favorite Sauber livery of the last few years. I feel like they could bring a bit more detail and complexity to it, but I like this direction. It’s aggressive and distinct.

  12. At least they had a “try” at creating an appealing livery this year, thats all you can really say

  13. black rims black livery it looks badass may not be pretty but it looks aggressive.

  14. Black rims always look badass!!!

  15. Added pictures of Kobayashi doing the first laps in the C31 at Jerez.

  16. Weird that sauber have easily had the worst looking car since 2010 yet they receive more praise than most other teams…

  17. The car is great and actualy – apart from the nose, obviously – it looks better than last year’s.
    The livery on the other hand… last year’s was good, this is a step backwards. It looks perfect from the side, but from the front the too-dark-grey nose looks as though there were no spares and an unpainted piece was put on the car (much like what happened to Davide Valsecchi at the Nurburgring last year in GP2).
    Curious to see Perez has gone back to that yellow colour he used in GP2.

  18. The livery reminds me of Kung Fu Panda.

  19. And mine and @Magnficent-Geoffrey ‘s beloved team shows once more that they cannot/will not get a proper livery together – but you know what? I love how ridiculous this thing looks. Its completely eccentric, and lovable, like an old Citroen or something.

  20. Very thin tipm surprising to have only seen it in the Sauber I thought the whole idea was to get as mush air as possible beneath the nose, obviously Sauber passed the crash test for this thin nose.

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