For Technical Director Willy Rampf, the philosophy behind the race car for the 2008 season boils down to what he calls “radical evolution”. In other words, last year’s car already provided the engineers with a sound basis for the BMW Sauber F1.08, and they did not have to spend time ironing out faults. Instead they were able to use knowledge gained over the course of the
2007 season and channel their energies into the development of innovations which build on this basis.
The new BMW Sauber F1.08.
The engineers’ development work focused on achieving a high level of aerodynamic efficiency coupled with a stable aero balance: the lower the loss of downforce when the wheels turn in, the faster the car can travel and the greater the confidence it gives the driver. Other development aims included improving mechanical grip in order to make the best possible use of the standard tyres, and reducing the weight of various components to allow maximum use of ballast in optimising weight distribution.
While the regulations governing aerodynamics remain unchanged in 2008, two other changes to the rulebook have had a major effect: the introduction of standardised electronics (SECU) and the new running time stipulation for gearboxes, which must now be used over four grands prix. Since the SECU does not allow for traction control, among other functions, mechanical grip and sensitive accelerator control will gain in importance.
A particularly eye-catching feature of the F1.08 is the mighty front wing. Having said that, the car’s nose has actually slimmed down – in equal measure to the rear end. The narrower engine cover has been designed with all-new extra wing elements. Another new and immediately noticeable feature are the hub caps, or “rim shields”.
The BMW Sauber F1.08 celebrated its global public presentation in Munich on 14th January 2008. “The data which the F1.08 has delivered ahead of its roll-out is extremely promising,” says Rampf. “And the development work will continue full speed ahead up to the start of the new season. We have already come up with another aero package for the season-opener in Melbourne on 16th March, and this will also change the external appearance of the F1.08 once more