Sauber's financial issues could limit C35 development - Nasr

Felipe Nasr reckons the financial troubles faced by the Sauber F1 Team may limit the in-season development of the C35.

Despite the new car having sat out the first test at Catalunya, Sauber appears ready for the season opener - but could face difficulties finding finances for the development of the C35.

"You guys can see. It is a difficult situation at the moment," said Nasr on Thursday.

"But the good thing is the car is here, the team is here and we are ready to race. That’s what we have in our hands now.

"Hopefully, things will improve and we can ship in developments and start upgrading our car. There are still a lot of things to be done.

"So, let’s hope things can get better and we can add some more performance to the car."

The Hinwil-based team scored 36 points last season - a marked improvement over the zero points it had amassed in 2014 - but the team was still hampered by having a limited number of upgrades.

"Hopefully, we can get things more steady," Nasr said.

"But this depends a lot on the financial side of the team. We do have things planned. I’m sure there will be great additions on the car.

"Let’s take it step-by-step. Initially, this is what we are facing."

Teammate Ericsson, meanwhile, shrugged off the issues, suggesting they were normal for a privateer squad like Sauber.

"I think for all the independent teams, you know, it is sort of the million-dollar question and the more money, we get the more we can develop the car," he said.

"But as far as I understand, this part of the year is always difficult with the new car being produced in a short amount of time - from what I know, it shouldn’t be a problem coming into the season now."

Smith's departure a "shame"

Just days before the season opener, Sauber announced the departure of its technical head Mark Smith for family reasons.

As the team is yet to announce a replacement, it heads into the weekend without a technical chief.

When asked about Smith's departure, Nasr had no qualms in expressing his disappointment.

"I think it’s a shame," he said. "Mark was doing a very good job in the team since he came in, leading the project of the C35. I admired his work.

"He was a very great addition to the team. It was a shame to see him leaving that early because I think there’s still room for improvement on the development of the car.

"He was the person to be leading that. I think, most of this direction has been done.

"We have planned out what the things we should do. But it’s also true to say that when the car is running, you have a better reading what has to be implemented, which area has to be the priority.

"Someone in his position was able to see that."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Marcus Ericsson , Felipe Nasr
Teams Sauber
Article type Breaking news