Sauber F1 team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has said she is 'optimistic' about what the squad can achieve in the second half of the season.

The Swiss-based outfit have had a difficult year, and while the financial problems now appear to be in the past, after a Russian bail out, with just seven points on the board, it is clear there is a need to improve the C32.

Furthermore, despite not scoring in Hungary last weekend, Nico Hulkenberg did come close, and only missed after picking up a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Frustratingly he finished in P11, just outside the points.

Related Articles

"We expected to get one or two points in Hungary," Kaltenborn remarked after the tenth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship. "[But] unfortunately, we knew early on this wasn't going to happen.

"Esteban had to retire because of a gearbox problem [on lap 28] and while Nico had a good race, an unfortunate issue with the pit lane speed limiter earned him a drive through penalty. This ruined any chance we had of getting into the points.

"On the positive side though, we now know we are more competitive. We are optimistic going into the second half of the season."

Sauber's head of track engineering, Tom McCullough, also reckons things can be better from Belgium onwards.

"Starting from P12 and P17 on this kind of circuit always makes it a hard race. Going forward, however, we can take positives from the better tyre management and pace we showed. We'll return after the summer break more competitive than we started the season," he insisted.

Hulkenberg meanwhile explained that a gearshift problem was what landed him with his drive-through: "The race was all right up until the second pit stop. I had trouble shifting from first to second gear. There is only a certain window where you are able to do that, otherwise it won't shift. That didn't work, it got hectic and somehow I must have released the button too early," the German lamented. "Without the drive through penalty we could have clinched one point.

"Overall, our pace was ok. Now I'm looking forward to the three weeks off, to get some sun and relax at the beach," he concluded.