Sauber is investigating methods to find quick improvements from its 2016 F1 challenger after Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson failed to reproduce the stunning results from 12 months ago.
Despite playing down the chance of matching its results in Melbourne from last year, Sauber fell short of its own expectations after failing to challenge for the points in the Australian Grand Prix.
After being handed a drive through penalty for work being completed on Ericsson's car outside of the allotted time during the red flag stoppage, the Swedish driver was forced to retire after a technical issue with the left rear tyre.
Nasr, who claimed a memorable fifth place on his F1 debut last year at Albert Park, fared little better reaching the chequered flag in a distant 15th place. The Brazilian driver says Sauber needs to undergo a thorough examination to find gains before the second race in Bahrain and believes the lack of testing time has hit the Swiss team hard.
Sauber had been forced to delay the debut of the C35 until the second pre-season test in Barcelona, effectively halving its total winter testing.
“Overall it was a difficult race for us. We struggled with our pace compared to our competitors,” Nasr said. “It was clear during the race that I could not keep up with the cars in front of me. It was good that we could gain important data from the C35, and we need to analyse every detail to find performance in the car. We have to improve the C35 in different areas. I think we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Ericsson is keen to make amends in two weeks time in Bahrain and hopes Sauber can close the gap to its rivals in the midfield pack.
“After the race resumed, I felt that something was wrong with the left rear tyre, so I went back to the garage,” Ericsson said. “Sometimes these things can happen. We will look into it to be in a better shape for the next race weekend in Bahrain.”