Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has said that the team cannot afford to focus too heavily on next season despite a revised rulebook forcing a dual approach to development.
A new engine and other key technical changes mean that teams will have to divide their attention between this season and next earlier than usual, but Kaltenborn insists that, as one of the sport's midfielders, every race is important to Sauber and there can be no thought of canning its 2013 assault in order to throw its entire focus onto the new car.
“A private team cannot afford that,” she stressed to the official F1 website, “The consequences of our future will depend on this year's result. There is no reason to believe we shouldn't be competitive. My guess is that the cars will become closer again due to the relatively stable rules, and it is then that you have to have an edge over the others.
“We too have already started developing the 2014 car, like most of the teams, [but], with our limitations, we face a bigger challenge than some of the others in finding the right allocation between the current car - and being competitive - and working on the new car.
“I just hope that this 'juggling' will not cause us any disadvantage. The trick will be to understand how much of your resources - in terms of both manpower and funding - you put into each car, and when to do it.”
A regular critic of the amount of money required to go grand prix racing, the sport's first female team principal has her concerns about the new 2014 regulations, but admits that things could have been worse for smaller teams already facing the cost of paying for new engines.
“If I look at where we started with the rules and where we ended up, very sensibly many things have been put back a little,” she reflected, “But there are so many open questions on the drivetrain side and I think that will be the deciding factor in the next season - who has an advantage with a better or worse drivetrain. That will be the challenging factor.
“As for the costs, clearly one has to say that if the engine is going to be a cost driver, then the manufacturer of the engines has to think what they want from the sport. Either they want customers for the engine or not. If they don't want customers, then they maybe end up with three or four teams, and I would even go so far as saying that even if each of these teams runs five cars they will not be able to sustain the benefits you are getting from F1 currently. I don't only mean the financial benefits, I also mean the image.
“The engine manufacturers have a certain responsibility there, but they are also benefitting from that as well. I don't know [if the engine manufacturers understand that], but that is not my problem.”
Sauber enters the 2013 season with an all-new driver line-up featuring Nico Hulkenberg and rookie Esteban Gutierrez in its Ferrari-powered C32 chassis.