Sauber F1 team's owners targeting fourth place in 2019

Sauber Formula 1 team chairman Pascal Picci says the Swiss outfit can target fourth place in the world championship next year

Sauber F1 team's owners targeting fourth place in 2019

Sauber has made huge progress this season under team principal Frederic Vasseur, and has regularly made the points in recent races.

However it still lies only ninth in the constructors' table, on 16 points while Renault has 70 in fourth place.

However Picci, who also heads the Islero Investment company that owns Sauber, says that the 2018 car was the first to be produced entirely under the current ownership, and that the team will make further steps next year with new technical director Simone Resta.

"The [car] concept was fantastic, and you will be seeing that there will be improvements more and more frequently, regularly," Picci told Autosport.

"It is our ambition next year to be the fourth team.

"I know I exaggerate, Fred is telling me that I am! But if you don't have dreams, then you don't succeed very often.

"We are really at our own pace, which was our view from the start. We are totally committed to success, and we will do anything for this."

Picci (pictured above with Charles Leclerc) believes this year's progress should not be a surprise, not least because the team now has a contemporary Ferrari engine, having used year-old equipment - at the behest of then-team principal Monisha Kaltenborn - in 2017.

"People keep forgetting that last year we couldn't develop anything at all, because time was very short," he said.

"Of course, people made the wrong opinion with what they were seeing last year. It is a big difference.

"Was it a good decision to have the old engine last season? I am very clear today with my experience, it was a terrible mistake we did.

"All of a sudden we have a better performing engine. Haas is doing a much better job than us in terms of results, but we keep pushing to be there."

Picci insists the team will remain in its current ownership, despite suggestions that Ferrari and Alfa Romeo could become more deeply involved.

"The potential is absolutely huge, but we are an independent team with our own business model, and not one single share is controlled or influenced by our Italian friends," he added.

"We simply have a lot of convergent interests. We are committed to this team for the long term."

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