Swiss team Sauber may be celebrating its 25th year in Formula 1, but the squad from Hinwil is set to hit a new low.
For the third time in four years - Sauber is set to finish the season 10th in the constructors’ championship. But, unlike the other occasions, it will be the first time since its F1 debut in 1993 that it has finished last.
This year, Sauber has scored just five points from the first 18 Grands Prix - care of Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein - who finished eighth and 10th in Spain and Azerbaijan respectively.
But, it’s not a result Sauber is expecting to repeat with new team principal Frédéric Vasseur at the helm - the Frenchman a master of compact, agile teams - both in the junior categories, and formerly at Renault.
SOUNDBITE (English) FRÉDÉRIC VASSEUR, FORMER TEAM PRINCIPAL, RENAULT:
“In term of motivation, the most important to know what is the target and to try to deliver. It doesn’t matter if the target is to be 10th, 12th or sixth - that we have to fix the target for everybody and we have to push everybody to deliver the target.”
The new car will be the first for returning technical director, Jörg Zander - who knows exactly 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.”
Next year’s C37 will also have Ferrari’s latest-spec power unit, Vasseur cancelling the proposed deal with Honda - for more stable performance - though it may come at the cost of the Scuderia’s influence...
… especially in terms of driver line-up, with rumours Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc, and young gun Antonio Giovinazzi set to be installed for 2018.
Despite Marcus Ericsson tied to Sauber’s owner Longbow Finance - and Wehrlein being a genuine talent. Should the German-Mauritian be ousted, it will be the second time in two years Sauber has dropped its main point scorer - Felipe Nasr out at the end of 2016.
It’s been a tough few seasons for the famous Swiss squad, but it looks like Sauber might finally be on its way up.