Felipe Nasr says he's concerned Sauber won't be able to replicate its stunning start to last season as its new C35 won't be at its optimum for the 2016 curtain raiser after missing half of pre-season testing.
The Brazilian driver enjoyed an eye-catching F1 debut 12 months ago by taking fifth place around Albert Park, while his team-mate Marcus Ericsson grabbed eighth place to make it Sauber's best round of 2015. However, after its new car was delayed and missed the first pre-season test he is worried the team won't be able to repeat the feat.
“If everything goes to plan during testing this will give us a good baseline for Melbourne, a good reference,” Nasr told Crash.net. “But I still think the car won't be at 100%, like it would have been, had we had the car a week ago.
“That is what it is and that is what we have got to work on. I am not going to moan or worry why we haven't brought the car a week ago. There is a lot of adjustment going on and getting a full understanding of the car. It might be that we are not 100% at Melbourne, but give it time and I am sure we are going to progress.
“I always think the early rounds are the best chance regardless of the car performance to score because that is where you see, in general, all teams having reliability problems or not everybody is yet on the rhythm of racing.”
Despite his concerns Nasr feels Sauber's charge won't trail off as it did last year because it has a new car to develop over the course of the campaign, while last year's effort took on very little evolution during 2015.
“What we saw last year was a limitation on the development because we pretty much ended up with the car that we started the year with,” he explained. “We just had one updated version of the car in Singapore. It is true to say we did lack with development of the car [in 2015].
"Hopefully this season it can be a bit different and seeing the performance of the car in the first few races, we can then plan better which area to overlook and which to improve.”