May 3 (GMM) Sauber has the swagger of a team of the future.

Sergio Perez, Sauber F1 Team running with a F-Duct system on the outside of the bodywork
Sergio Perez, Sauber F1 Team running with a F-Duct system on the outside of the bodywork

Photo by: xpb.cc

The Hinwil based team struggled for survival in the wake of owner BMW's shock withdrawal in late 2009.

"We've been through a quite awkward time," admitted Monisha Kaltenborn, the chief executive.

But with the Ferrari-powered C31, the Hinwil based team is back with a bang, pushing for victory in Malaysia and now counting on the billionaire backing of Sergio Perez's powerful Mexican sponsor Carlos Slim.

And yet another billionaire is in tow, following the tie-up with Roman Abramovich's English premier league club Chelsea FC.

Blick newspaper acknowledged, however, that it is unclear just how many millions the deal entails.

Nonetheless, Russian billionaire Abramovich appears interested, amid suggestions he will visit the Sauber garage in Monaco later this month.

At Mugello this week, the C31 is again performing well, Kamui Kobayashi sharing top honours on Wednesday with an identical time to that set by Lotus' Romain Grosjean.

Of all the upgrades seen so far this week, Sauber's are the most comprehensive, and even more will be trackside in Barcelona next weekend.

"We have ambitious dreams and goals," Kaltenborn is quoted as saying. "In this sport, if you don't have that, you don't have much."