Sauber aims to be 'best of the rest' in 2019

Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber C37 and team mate Charles Leclerc (MON) Sauber F1 Team C37.
© XPB 

The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team has set its sights on becoming the fourth-best team in 2019 behind the 'big three' of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

That's the stated intention of the team's chairman Pascal Picci after a surge in Sauber's competitiveness this season following its new tie-up with Ferrari.

“It is our ambition next year to be the fourth team," he told "This is our ambition.

"I know I exaggerate, Fred is telling me that I am!" he added, referring to current team boss Frédéric Vasseur. "But if you don’t have dreams, then you don’t succeed very often."

This season Sauber has benefited from a much stronger and more reliable performance from this year's Ferrari power units, and from strong showings by both of the team's drivers Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson.

Between them the pair have amassed 18 points for Sauber in the first 12 races of 2018, compared to just five for the whole of the previous season. It means that Sauber are no longer bottom of the constructors championship, and are comfortably ahead of Williams in the standings.

However the Swiss squad is some way behind Haas, another Ferrari-affiliated team on the Formula 1 grid which is currently in fifth place. Picci says that's where Sauber should be aiming for next season.

“We are really at our own pace, which was our view from the start," he said. "We are totally committed to success, and we will do anything for this."

As far as Picci is concerned, the current C37 is a good start given where the team was 12 months ago as it struggled to rebuild from a financial crisis.

“People keep forgetting that last year we couldn’t develop anything at all, because time was very short,” he said.

He explained that former team principal Monisha Kaltenborn's decision to accept a deal for year-old Ferrari engines in 2017 had been a negative factor in the team's previous decline which had now been addressed by her successor.

“Was it a good decision to have the old engine last season? I am very clear today with my experience, it was a terrible mistake we did," he said.

"Of course, people made the wrong opinion with what they were seeing last year. It is a big difference.

“This is the first car that we were able to produce,” he continued. “The concept was fantastic.

“All of a sudden we have a better performing engine. Haas is doing a much better job than us in terms of results, but we keep pushing to be there.

"You will be seeing that there will be improvements more and more frequently, regularly," he promised.

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