Felipe Nasr says Sauber should be praised for the way it maximised its opportunities in 2015 as it bounced back from the worst season in its long history to score a handful of notable results.
The Swiss outfit suffered its first point-less F1 season in 2014, placing it tenth in the constructors' standings, but a sizeable stride over the winter saw it straight back into the points from the opening race of 2015 when Nasr scored a fine fifth place finish on his race debut.
Though Sauber struggled to maintain the same level of form over the course of the year as its development curve plateaued, Nasr still managed a top six finish in Russia in the latter portion of the season.
With Nasr cracking the top ten on six occasions, the Brazilian admits many of those results were achieved primarily because Sauber made the most of the opportunities presented to it, rather than through raw pace alone.
However, he adds that Sauber was 'honest' about its anticipated limitations – particularly with regards to in-season development - from the start of the year, making its achievements over the course of 2015 all the more notable.
“We all knew it was going to be a difficult year,” he said. “We all knew about the limitations of the car and the limitation on the budget side – we couldn't develop the car as some of the other teams.
“This is what I like from them, the honesty and not promising anything more than that. I think all the achievements that we did – you can count them, the opportunities that we had, I was there to take it and the team was there to take it.”
Looking forward to this season, Nasr – who has re-signed to form an unchanged line-up alongside Marcus Ericsson – is wary of the threat posed by the two teams Sauber out-scored last year.
However, though McLaren-Honda is expected to take a step forward and Manor now using the preferred Mercedes power unit, Nasr teases that Sauber is prepared for the renewed challenge.
“Everybody is trying to improve, it is not only us. It is not only McLaren and Manor – everybody has things to improve.
“It [lap times] always come down. In winter testing, when you look at the cars and see how they are doing, then we can say what we are going to face in the year and who is going to be closer to you or if you are further ahead. All I can say is we did sacrifice a little bit this year thinking about next year's car.”