Sauber could be set to return to its traditional place, deep in F1’s brutal midfield fight, with the Swiss team starting from scratch with its 2018 car.
The team heads to Singapore last in the constructors’ standings, with just five points scored across the first 13 events – all by Pascal Wehrlein, in Barcelona and on the streets of Baku.
The outfit now trails rival McLaren by six points, its campaign hobbled by Ferrari’s 2016 power units that will become increasingly less competitive – as the development war heats up over the final seven races.
But next year’s C37 will have less than 20 per cent carryover parts with the latest-spec power unit from the Scuderia as part of its new deal – and while the team won’t be collaborating with Ferrari as much as Haas does – it’s confident about progress so far.
"The car is already in the windtunnel and I think that we are doing a decent job,” said team principal Frédéric Vasseur.
The new car will be the first for returning technical director, Jörg Zander, who knows in no uncertain terms of what’s expected of him.
SOUNDBITE (English) JÖRG ZANDER,
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, SAUBER:
“Our goal is a place in the midfield, we wish to leave two to three teams behind us, but I see no reason why we should not be able to do so. I have a brilliant technical team, they’re very good people.”
The big question mark, though, is on whether Zander can actually deliver – with his update package in Monaco not giving enough performance.
Vasseur is also concerned that a big step forward may not be made due to the low amount of carryover parts, and the company focused on growing, with 100 new staff its target for 2018.
Regardless, the fire has finally returned to Hinwil, and with Vasseur now in charge – 2018 could be the start of its resurgence.