Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn says there is still more to come from the Swiss team through the remainder of the F1 season and insists that it can keep pace with its larger rivals in the development race.
The team has already smashed its points total from last year and has three podium finishes to its name thanks to strong drives from Sergio Perez in Malaysia, Canada and Italy.
It means Sauber is now just 26 points behind Mercedes in the title race as it seeks to try and challenge for fifth spot and Kaltenborn insisted that there was still more to come from the team despite the improvements it has made so far in 2012.
“Our technical people and engineers have succeeded in building a fine car in the Sauber C31-Ferrari,” she said. “The weak points of last year's car have been almost completely eradicated, while the ongoing development of the C31 is taking place at a very high level and extremely efficiently. Added to which, stability has returned to the team after a very difficult phase for the company in which we had to deal with the withdrawal of BMW in 2009.
“We are working extremely efficiently. The extensive package of upgrades we introduced for the races at Barcelona and Silverstone were successful. Our progress at the race track has met our expectations and calculations in full, which is a major feather in the cap of our engineers. And there's still more to come from the C31.
“We'll be bringing another series of upgrades to the upcoming races in Asia, at the same time as pushing ahead with the development of next year's car, of course. So it's not only a question of the pace of development, but more particularly efficiency.
“Here, the issue of costs clearly plays a critical role. The greater the resources at your disposal, the more intensively you can develop the car, and that is reflected directly in performance.”
Kaltenborn added that, having exceeded the expectations of many onlookers, Sauber was now keen to maintain its progress and beat Mercedes in the standings through the remainder of the campaign
“After our strong start to the season, many people were predicting that the wheels would come off for us, so to speak, as the season progressed,” she said. “The reality, though, is we're getting stronger all the time, and I'm anticipating that we'll continue to deliver good performances through the final third of the season.
“Before the season got under way we said we wanted to significantly improve our position in the World Championship. Taking our seventh place in the constructors' standings in 2011 as a starting point, that would mean finishing fifth this year. That's an ambitious target, but you have to set your sights high. And I have every confidence in our team.”