BMW Sauber was the third Formula 1 team to show off its new challenger for the 2010 season on Sunday, with the unveiling of the C29 at the Valencia circuit. The car, which will be powered by Ferrari engines this season, is the first machine from the Swiss squad following the exit of BMW from the sport at the end of 2009. Sauber will begin running with the C29 tomorrow, when preseason testing kicks off at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Peter Sauber, who sold his team to BMW in 2005, is now back in charge of the Swiss-based squad following the German car maker's exit. The team's place on the grid for 2010 was in doubt before Sauber re-took control of the team and Toyota confirmed it was leaving Formula 1, opening up a slot for the Swiss outfit.
The new C29, which sports a "shark fin" similar to the one used by McLaren in its new car, will be driven by Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi.
"The last few months have been very intense for us," said Sauber. "First we had to battle to secure the survival of the team and then we focused on putting a strong setup in place for the future.
"The technical preparation of the 2010 car has continued uninterrupted and according to plan since the spring of 2009, despite all the turmoil. We have a long tradition of bringing together an up-and-coming youngster and an experienced campaigner as a driver combination – and it's an approach that has brought us a lot of success.
"Pedro has been working at the highest level technically for many years and for a top team, and we can benefit as a team from this experience. Young Kamui also has a lot to offer us, and last year he impressed me particularly in Abu Dhabi."
Sauber's car retains similar colors to those used during the BMW era, but with more white space due to the lack of sponsors. De la Rosa returns to racing after seven years as McLaren's test driver.
"At last, I can feel like a proper racing driver again," he said. "I've really missed the competition out on the track. At the same time, though, I've learned a lot technically and on the systems side, and now I want to bring that knowledge to the team."
Kobayashi, who made his Formula 1 debut late last year with Toyota, added: "I'm very proud that Peter Sauber has shown so much faith in me and I'm determined not to disappoint him. My aim is that he will end up being proud of me as well."
Technical director Willy Rampf said the car has been designed using the experience gathered last year, when the team struggled for performance.
"The development of the BMW Sauber C29 has seen the team build on the experience gained last year and the improvement in performance over the final third of the season," Rampf said. "However, the new regulations banning refueling during the race and stipulating a reduced width for the front tires have required significant changes to the car's design."