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Sauber principal: Old engine not an excuse for performance

Sauber principal: Old engine not an excuse for performance

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Sauber principal: Old engine not an excuse for performance

Sauber principal: Old engine not an excuse for performance

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur has insisted that the fact his team were using old Ferrari engines last season was not an excuse for their poor performances which saw them finish last in the constructor rankings, having spent the majority of the campaign in that position.

Last season, the team finished with just five points in the rankings and were using 2016-specification Ferrari parts, but Vasseur thinks there are more problems needing addressed than just engine quality.

"We have to honest with ourselves," he told Autosport.

"The biggest issue wasn't the engine. The engine was 2016, but the handicap was only a couple of tenths.

"If you compare with the other teams, the biggest issue was on the chassis side, and we have to be focused on this and push like hell on the aero."

Sauber are now Alfa Romeo Sauber due to a new title sponsorship, and will receive up-to-date engines as well as Ferrari protege Charles Leclerc as one of their drivers, and Vasseur admits it is a relief to focus on other improvements rather than just parts.

"At least you will remove the engine from being a preoccupation," Vasseur added.

Marcus Ericsson has confessed that, when he heard the team was going to be using older engines last season, he knew it was going to be difficult to make an impact on the field.

"Straight away when I heard the news that Sauber was going to use the old power unit you knew it was not going to be good," said the Sauber driver.

"Everyone could see what happened with Toro Rosso [using old Ferrari engines in 2016] so there was no surprise there.

"You have to still try to look at it in a positive way, and say that we'll focus more on the chassis side, and we did, but it was going to be a big handicap. But with that in mind, I'm quite impressed with the team and the factory and the way we were able to keep pushing and keep development.

"After the summer break, it really looked like a disaster - we were so far off the next cars, we were over a second off per lap. It was looking really, really bad and it would have been easy for the team then to give up completely and think about next year [2018].

"But they still kept pushing and in the factory they kept developing and bringing new stuff to the track and actually the last three or four weekends we were in the mix again and still outqualifying people and outracing people fair and square.

"That's a big thing and it shows that this team has a lot of quality both at the track and in the factory."

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