The Sauber Formula 1 team has set the target of achieving double Q3 appearances in the remaining races of 2018, despite slowing down development on its current car.

Sauber has made impressive gains this season to lift itself of the bottom of F1’s pecking order and up to ninth in the constructors’ standings, having enjoyed consistent points finishes across the opening 14 rounds of the campaign.

The Swiss squad was boosted by significant backing from Alfa Romeo as well as forming closer ties to Ferrari, while it signed Simone Resta from the Scuderia in July to spearhead its technical department.

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With attentions turning to the aerodynamic changes coming in for 2019, Sauber opted to stop major development on its 2018 challenger in order to prepare for next year, though the team still has high expectations for the rest of the campaign.

“I hope we will be progressing a little bit in the next races and that we will be closer and closer to Q3 with both cars,” Resta explained.

“The trend so far has been good. I think it’s fair to say that we are slowing down our development rate for the time being, and we are concentrating mostly on next year’s car.

“That is a big challenge but also a big opportunity for us to close even further the gap to the big [teams].”

Charles Leclerc, who will swap seats with Kimi Raikkonen to complete a “dream” move to Ferrari next year, has already made three Q3 appearances in what has been a superb rookie season.

Leclerc called on Sauber to investigate why it struggled for pace at Monza and believes the last race marked a rare occasion this season the team had brought an update that did not work.

“I thought we would have been a lot quicker than that but it has not been the case and it happens sometimes,” he conceded.

“I think every time we brought something it always worked, and sometimes it happens and it doesn’t and that’s what happened.

“So we just ned to investigate to know what’s the exact cause of this so it doesn’t happen again.”

Despite enjoying an improved set of results in 2018 - including recording Sauber’s latest top 10 finish at Spa - Marcus Ericsson, by his own admission, has struggled to match Leclerc in qualifying trim and is yet to make it into the final segment of qualifying.

Ericsson is expecting a stronger showing in Singapore after a difficult weekend in Italy, which began with the Swede barrel-rolling in a terrifying high-speed crash during practice.

“I think in general we were a bit slower than expected, we thought we were going to be stronger on a track like [Monza]. But to be fair I think both Spa and at Monza with the lower downforce tracks we’ve been struggling a bit more,” he said.

“We all look forward to coming back to Singapore and more high downforce tracks, we were a lot stronger on them prior to the break so hopefully we can get back on form in that type of track.”

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