Felipe Nasr admits that the second half of his rookie F1 season is shaping up to be a tough one for the Sauber team, but he remains optimistic that planned upgrades to the C34 can keep it competitive.

After a surprisingly strong start to the year - both Saubers scored in Melbourne with Nasr claiming fifth on his F1 debut - the Swiss team has tailed off in recent races as rivals introduced updates to their cars. Unable to throw money at its campaign to the same degree, Sauber has kept its powder dry through the first half of the year, but plans to bring developments to both Spa and Singapore as part of a second half push.

"At the moment, we are facing a rather difficult time, but we have our updates in Spa-Francorchamps and Singapore, so we have to be patient," Nasr confirmed, "I am looking forward to running the car with the updates but, as we have not driven the car yet, we cannot precisely predict what it is going to be like.

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"The target is to put us back into the points. In the championship, we have dropped back down, and I think it will not be easy to move up. However, I am still confident the updates will help us to be in a better position."

Nasr, who will spend the short summer break back home in Brazil - "It's been a while since I have been back there and I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends and just being back home in Brasilia" - admits that the second half will also be more of a challenge personally, with some un familiar venues on the slate.

"There are some tracks on which I will get my first taste in a F1 car," he noted, "For example, the circuit in Japan is one I have not driven on yet, and the Mexican Grand Prix will also be on the calendar again, which is new for everyone...."

While attempting to restore the current Sauber to the battle with Toro Rosso, Lotus and Force India, Nasr and team-mate Marcus Ericsson - both of whom have already been confirmed for 2016 - will be contributing to the development of the new C35, and the Brazilian is looking forward to tailoring the machine to his driving style.

"We give valuable feedback on the areas that should be improved, and we have to keep doing the best we can to collect this information correctly, as the C35 will be based on that," he explained, "I am pleased that Mark Smith has joined us as technical director and he already has a good overview of the car.

"We have to make sure the updates we are bringing for the next races are working properly as these will be the first step to guide us into the right direction for 2016, but I think we are going in the right way, and I am confident we can fight for points more often next year."