Sauber recovered from their 2014 nadir, scoring some valuable points last year. Will they carry forward the momentum and re-establish themselves as a credible midfielder? Matthew Gannon makes a prediction based on pre-season testing.
Constructors Championship - 9th.
The pair, no longer rookies, will be looking to build on a solid season in 2015. While equaling his fifth place of last years Australian Grand Prix is a tall order for Felipe Nasr, he will still be looking for a solid points haul. For Marcus Ericsson points will also be the main aim in the opening rounds. Sauber's finishing position could depend on whether they can stay in the development race, an area they lost out heavily on last season. With financially troubling news already being reported, there are still severe question marks over how their season will unfold.
Marcus Ericsson - 17th
Now in his third season, the consistent Swede is looking to beat his teammate on both one lap pace and race trim. While that extra year's experience is handy, it is not going to be decisive, meaning Ericsson will need to be on top form in order to make the top 10 in what could be one of the closest seasons to date in the midfield. As was once said "to finish first, first you must finish". That will be Ericsson's mantra in securing those vital points to beat the McLarens and his teammate Nasr.
Felipe Nasr - 18th
The Brazilian rookie stole the show 12 months ago. Now, the rookie status is gone and a new challenge awaits. I believe Nasr will fall short of his teammate this time around, but the battle will be a long arduous fight for supremacy - one the Brazilian will be more than prepared for. Like Ericsson, consistency will be the key to prizes in 2016, but all we know for certain is that it will be a close run contest.
Pre-Season notes -
While Nasr was the one challenging the McLarens, three tenths up on his Swedish counterpart, he also clocked up more laps with over 400 visits of the Barcelona circuit to his name. The battle was close enough that setups, fuel loads and any other minor changes could be decisive. However, considering how competitive this season's midfield looks like, setup could be half the battle. All we know is we don't know... until the chequered flag at Melbourne is waved.
by Matthew Gannon