Sauber F1 Team’s Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn is still confident that finishing in the points is a realistic goal this year despite leaving Melbourne empty-handed.
Sauber had identified the tricky season opener as a good opportunity for securing a points finish, but the C36-Ferrari was the slowest car around the Albert Park Circuit, with Antonio Giovinazzi being lapped twice during the race. But this is hardly a surprise as Sauber are relying on a year-old Ferrari engine.
Kaltenborn insists that further scoring opportunities exist despite the team’s shortcomings, as they desperately strive not to repeat the struggle of last year; their first points eluded them until the penultimate race in Brazil.
“I think points are still possible,” she told Autosport. “We know this engine, we know the surrounding it has and we have to focus on our strengths which is on the chassis side.
“We will try our best to compensate for that loss, whatever that may be. At some races it will be less but we knew that. There are other races coming up where we definitely have our chance.”
This year, Kaltenborn expects their first aerodynamic upgrades to be available in May at the Spanish Grand Prix.
“There will be little pieces always coming depending on how they pan out from the wind tunnel,” she continued.
The engine’s specification is frozen but Sauber are anticipating an upgrade of sorts, hopefully to unleash more speed that will allow them to hang on to the midfield battle.
“We have definitely closed the gap to certain teams that are ahead of us but we still need to work and make sure we make that gap smaller,” Kaltenborn added.
“We see that for us, our pace is there and we just need to make sure these sort of accidents don’t happen and that qualifying is a bit better.”