The Sauber C12
was the car with which the Sauber Formula One
team made its FIA Formula One
World Championship debut in 1993
. Its design was led by Leo Ress
. Power was provided by a Sauber-branded 3.5-litre 72deg. V10 built by Ilmor
in partnership with Mercedes
. The Sauber branding was surprising given the prominence of Mercedes logos on the engine cowling and the two parties' close relationship from their World Sportscar Championship
program. Indeed, the engines were re-branded in 1994 to reflect the partnership. The C12 also had lines like those of the Williams FW14
was re-united with his former WSC
team in preparation for its Grand Prix debut. He already had two seasons of Formula One experience, having made his debut in the 1991 Japanese Grand Prix
with Leyton House
. J J Lehto
(Jyrki Järvilehto) had started 38 Grands Prix (not including failures to qualify) between 1989
. Lehto contributed to a promising start with a 5th place finish in the South African GP
and improved on that with a 4th place classification at Imola
, home of the San Marino GP
, despite an engine problem.
The C12 had a somewhat mixed record with a total of 12 DNFs due to mechanical failure, including seven engine failures (not including Imola, where Lehto was classified as a finisher). Driver-related incidents accounted for six more DNFs.
The C12 achieved six points finishes and eight non-scoring finishes from 32 starts.