Felipe Nasr says he is hopeful Sauber can rediscover its pace lost to its rivals at the start of the 2016 F1 season after its underwhelming openers.
The Brazilian driver enjoyed a roaring start to his rookie campaign with two points finishes in his opening three races last year but after the opening two races in Australia and Bahrain his best result is a lowly 14th place in the Middle East.
After Sauber delayed the debut of its new challenger, the C35, until the second pre-season test in Barcelona the team has been playing catch up for race pace and outright qualifying speed.
Nasr is hoping to use the results from last year's Chinese Grand Prix – where Sauber scored a double points finish – as a solid base point as he looks to close the gap to his rivals.
“My first Formula One race weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit was quite positive last year,” Nasr said. “We improved the car during the whole weekend and, after a top ten qualifying, I finished the race in eighth.
“Looking back to the Bahrain Grand Prix about a week ago, I hope that the team was able to sort out the issues I had with the C35. The objective is clearly to be more competitive. I am looking forward to the Chinese Grand Prix as the track characteristics should suit our car.”
After its fast start to 2015 Sauber has remained rooted on zero points this season alongside MRT and Renault.