Massa impressed with C24

Felipe Massa has delivered a positive verdict on the new Sauber after his first taste of the car in testing at Jerez on Friday. The car ran without any major problems and Massa reported that the chassis felt encouragingly well-balanced

Massa impressed with C24

"For a roll-out it was very good," said the Brazilian. "I am very content. We encountered a few small problems with the car in the morning but that is normal for this kind of test. It was generally reliable and we were even able to make some set-up progress towards the end of the day."

The C24 is the first chassis to enjoy the full benefits of Sauber's state-of-the-art new wind tunnel at its Hinwil factory, and technical director Willy Rampf said at the launch that he is particularly pleased with the car's aerodynamics, which include a more aggressive-looking sidepod design than the 2004 car.

However, the changes instituted by the FIA to slash downforce in 2005 made it difficult for Massa to draw meaningful comparisons with the C23, since cars are sliding around a lot more as a result of the regulation changes.

"The new regs are a huge step on aero, so there is an awful lot of work to try and claw that back in the next two months," said Massa. "For sure the cars are a lot slower but that is the same problem for everyone. You have to physically drive them a lot more than before, they slide more, and you have to brake earlier. It is difficult to know where we are at the moment because we are alone and we won't really know until Melbourne."

The team experimented with a radical, twin-plane front wing (bearing a passing resemblance to that on Ayrton Senna's 1984 Toleman!) in the course of the day's testing before reverting to a more conventional design at the end of the afternoon.

Sauber has switched tyre suppliers in 2005 and Massa was pleasantly surprised how little adaptation was required to the Michelin rubber. With drivers having to use a single set of tyres over qualifying and a race distance this season, tyre management and durability are likely to be crucial.

"A big thing next year is to have consistency because with the new tyre regulations you will need a set-up quick over one lap and over a much longer run than before," said Massa.

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Massa Completes Sauber C24 Roll-Out

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