Returning to Sauber as their technical director, Jorg Zander says the main objective is to see a “clear improvement” on last year’s poor showing.
Sauber managed just two points in last year’s 21 races thanks to a ninth-placed result from Felipe Nasr at his home grand prix in Brazil.
Aside from that it was a wretched season for the Swiss team, who came under new ownership when Longbow Finance acquired the team.
That lightened the team’s cash flow problems and gave them confidence for the future.
Now Zander says it is time for Sauber to work their way back into Formula 1’s midfield.
“I want to see a clear improvement compared to last year,” he said. “All of us in Hinwil want that.
“Our objective is to establish ourselves in the midfield.
“In comparison to last year, we will implement our development plan for the whole season, but we have to be realistic as our reference is at a lower level than the ones of our competitors.
“We are on plan with the C36 and we are optimistic that our current development is heading in the right direction.
“At the moment it is impossible to make any predictions compared to our competitors due to the new regulations. Overall, 2017 will be an important year for us.”
Zander is eagerly anticipating Formula 1’s new era with the revised aerodynamic regulations with wider tyres and wings.
Explaining the changes, he said: “The vehicles will be wider, from 1.80 up to 2 meters. We will also have 25% wider tyres, the front and rear wing will also be wider as well as the diffusor being increased. All-in-all that means more downforce, more grip and therefore faster lap times.
“The apex speed will be increased as well as the air drag. Therefore, the regulation for the energy recovery will be changed.
“The car will have a lower top speed, but can brake later due to the higher downforce. The braking distance therefore becomes shorter, which has an impact on the energy recovery.
“There needs to be different driving profiles and strategies in order to pick up the limited energy of 2 MJ on the MGU-K. The aero concept will again be crucial when it comes to the performance.
“The cars will look strong because of the wider tyres and the overall length of 2 meters. Just looking at them, you can feel the incomparable dynamic power.
“The powertrain is sure to play a big role, but at the beginning of the season the chassis, as well as the reliability, will make the difference.”