Sauber was true to form in 2015 – it started well, and then gradually slipped back in to midfield obscurity as the development war progressed and other teams brought modifications to their cars.
Technical director Mark Smith joined from Caterham at the beginning of 2015 and has had an influence on the new C35. It also has a potent Ferrari engine, which is a bonus.
Brazilian Felipe Nasr is a talented prospect who is sometimes unfairly tagged with being a pay driver. He might well bring budget, but he has the ability to back it up. Marcus Ericsson is a solid stablemate who is never going to tear up any trees. There is a very Italian feel to the new American Haas team. It has a chassis built by Dallara, a powerplant from Ferrari and that should be enough to put the team in with a shout of troubling the upper midfield.
There are some experienced F1 hands behind the scenes too. All the portents are that this will be one of grand prix racing’s best-prepared newcomers for some while.
Allied to that, it has two experienced drivers at the wheel. Romain Grosjean is a proven product, while Mexican Esteban Gutierrez returns to the top flight after a season as Ferrari test driver.