Sauber F1Felipe NasrMarcus Ericsson
2015 Constructors' Standings - 8th

A late debut for the C35 makes it hard to place Sauber coming into the season, but it is likely - initially at least - set to find itself playing catch up. The team insists the car can develop over the year, unlike its predecessor, but budgets are tight

There is always a looming uncertainty around the Sauber at the start of any season and a delayed car launch plus news that some staff didn't get paid on time recently have set a few alarm bells ringing, but on track Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson have been rather more positive.

Making its bow at the second test, the C35 has had just four days of track time and comes to Australia - where it scored a surprise fifth place finish last year - on the back foot compared with its rivals.

Bearing hallmarks of last year's car, the first Sauber to be designed by Mark Smith - who has since left - features some tighter packaging, while the 2016 specification Ferrari engine should provide a handy bit of grunt in the busy mid-field.

Indeed, in an eight day test that made it tricky to make predictions of any team, a four-day outing for the new Sauber makes it probably the hardest to place at the moment. The late arrival of the car limits its chances of making good gains in the opening rounds, where it is often strongest before budget constraints flatten the development curve.

However, the drivers have insisted there is a development programme in place to try and keep the C35 nibbling the tenths to the end of the season and they are confident they can be challenging for points more regularly.

A second year in the team for both drivers, Nasr is hopeful a more tailored car will bring out some more consistency after peaks were negated by troughs in his rookie campaign. Ericsson, meanwhile, took time to get the best from the C34 and by then his best chances for points had gone as the car's competitiveness dipped. Both will be eager to take another positive step with experience in 2016.



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