Kamui Kobayashi says more consistency is key to Sauber achieving its goal of improving its championship position during the 2012 F1 campaign.
The team finished seventh in the championship standings last season but its position was aided in no small part by a strong start to the year, with performance tailing off as the campaign wore on.
With the new C31 however, Sauber is targeting points finishes on a regular basis in 2012 with Kobayashi arguing that a strong start to the year in Melbourne next weekend and a more consistent campaign was key to the Swiss team achieving the aims it has in place.
“We had promising pre-season testing with the C31 and the car feels pretty good,” he said. “This, together with the experience I gained last year, makes me a lot more confident now.
“For me the main target is that we are more consistent this year. In 2010 we had a difficult first part of the season, and only recovered in the second half. In 2011 it was vice versa - we had a great start but struggled later in the season. If we can consistently display our best potential, we could score consistently. It must be like this.
“Melbourne is a great place to start the season because the people there really like racing and Formula One. The city is very much alive and, as soon as you get there, the atmosphere tells you: Yes, here we go again, it's time to start! I hope the weather will still be nice and warm during the Grand Prix weekend, as there the summer is almost over. The Albert Park Circuit itself has a very nice lay-out. The fact it isn't a permanent race track, and therefore very slippery at the beginning of the weekend, doesn't make the set up work for the first Grand Prix any easier, but to adapt to the improving grip level is a challenge for everyone.”
Team boss Peter Sauber meanwhile said he was excited ahead of a season where Sauber is 'aiming high'.
“This coming season is the 20th for the Sauber F1 Team,” he said. “Having said this, you might expect that the first race of a season would be routine by now. But this is by no means the case. I even have the feeling that this year the excitement is special.
“The winter tests left the impression that the competition could be tighter than ever before. Apparently the mid-field teams have reduced the gap to the top teams. I am really pleased with the progress we made during testing and I think we are well prepared. We have to be because we have set ourselves quite high targets for 2012. We want to score points on a regular basis and significantly improve our position in the constructors' championship.
“We are well aware that this sounds very ambitious, but this is what we are working on.”