MARCH 2, 2016
Sauber may not be 100 per cent in Melbourne says Nasr
Felipe Nasr admits Sauber's newly-launched car may not be 100 per cent ready for the 2016 season opener in Australia in just over two weeks.
While the rest of the teams were already testing their 2016 machines last week in Barcelona, Nasr's Ferrari-powered C35 was unveiled only on Tuesday, ahead of just four days of running prior to Melbourne.
The Brazilian answered "yes" when asked if there was a financial aspect to the holdup, but also explained: "It was a combination of things, even involving Ferrari.
"In fact we could have brought the launch forward, but it (the car) would not have been as we would have liked," he told Brazil's Globo Esporte.
"This car has a much better integration of chassis, aerodynamics and engine, and this takes time," Nasr added.
But with the midfield expected to be so fiercely-contested in 2016 - as Manor steps up with Mercedes power, Haas arrives with strong Ferrari backing and Lotus becomes Renault - it could be Sauber that is left at the very back.
"After all that I have seen us doing in the team, I do not believe it," insisted Nasr, "but of course it can happen.
"If it is, we have to find ways to reverse the situation and our team has the structure to do that. But as I said, I do not think it will be so."
And so the 23-year-old said he will not criticise Sauber for the new car's delay.
"If I had the car a week ago we would have done much of the work that we did today," Nasr said on Tuesday. "But I'd rather have the car now than to not have it.
"We have more work ahead of us, we still need time, and maybe it will not be 100 per cent in Australia, but I am as optimistic as possible.
"I believe we will have a good preparation for the first race," Nasr added.