Sauber watching gap with top teams, not mid-field rivals

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Sauber boss Frédéric Vasseur says the Swiss outfit will measure its progress this year against Formula 1's front-runners rather than focus on its performance relative to its mid-field rivals.

Under Vasseur's management, and thanks in no small part to its close technical partnership with Ferrari, the Swiss outfit greatly improved last season, positioning itself as a regular top-ten contender in the second part of the year.

Sauber aims to sustain its progress in 2019, but Vasseur will be looking at the team's performance numbers relative to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull rather than at the mid-field pecking order.

"We were more or less nowhere, so we had to improve in every single department and see," the Frenchman told Autosport.

"The reason for how we were getting on on-track was also due to the others – Williams struggling more than expected, McLaren.

"My trigger is more the gaps between the top teams, the percentage.

"[It is] the best way for me to monitor what we’re doing because they have big resources and if we are able to keep the same gap it means we’re improving.

"But we are closing the gap hugely compared to [2017]. Hugely."

As a reminder, the Hinwil squad's driver line-up for 2019 will include Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi and 2007 F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

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