Pedro de la Rosa has admitted what we have all come to realise: Sauber was running light in pre-season testing, and has deceived many pundits into thinking it was a potential frontrunner for the 2010 season.
However, the Spaniard remains positive that the team will start on the right path in developing and improving the car to the point that it will be closer to the leading pack during the season.
Sauber was widely expected to spring a few surprises in 2010 after it ran quickly in pre-season testing – even topping the timesheets on a few occasions – but it has proved to be a midfield runner at best so far this season, and remains the sole non-rookie team to remain with a zero points’ balance after the opening three rounds of the season.
"The reality is racing, not testing, and that reality is where we are now," Pedro said.
"In testing we started very well, but I think the other teams have introduced new developments from February on. They have made massive steps forward, we haven’t, and therefore this is where we are – simple as that.
"Possibly in testing we were also running a little bit less fuel than other people, which we didn’t account for, and that has opened the gap a little bit.
"We have [former Force India Technical Director] James Key in the team now, he started working last week, and he’s a good asset. I think everything is going very well in that area. I think it’s going to work."
Sauber was also the first team to introduce its own version of McLaren’s ‘F-duct’ system, a mere two weeks after McLaren competitively debuted it at the season-opening Bahrain GP. However, its full potential has not been unlocked as yet.
"The team is improving the system race by race," Pedro said. "It’s not an easy system, it’s very complex, and they’re doing a good job making it work reliably, but our plan is to run it from tomorrow to Sunday now it’s working, and here is one of the places it’s useful [because of the long back straight]."