Peter Sauber says he is looking for an explanation as to why his team has not been as competitive as he feels it should have been at the start of the 2010 season.
Although the Swiss squad secured a place on the grid late in the year following the withdrawal of previous owners BMW from the sport, Sauber was one of the teams expected to surprise this year following a strong winter of testing. However, the team has so far failed to score in the first three races of the season, having qualified in the top 10 only once thanks to Kamui Kobayashi's performance last weekend in Malaysia. Sauber admits the team is performing below expectations and he himself is looking for answers.
"In terms of performance, we are not where we expected to be or where we should be given the means we've had at our disposal in the development of the C29," said Sauber on Thursday. "I'm looking for explanations myself.
"What is clear is that there was a lot of uncertainty around the whole team in the second half of 2009 – not surprisingly, given the circumstances. Nobody within the team knew whether we would be on the grid in Bahrain.
"This uncertainty was only removed when I took over the team and the guys could see a future once again. Now we have the task of making up for lost time as quickly as possible."
The team will finally start working with new technical director James Key from next week's race in China, after the Briton left Force India to join Sauber. The team's owner reckons Key's arrival is likely to lead to a reshuffle at the team.
"His first grand prix for the team will be Shanghai, where he will also have technical responsibility at the circuit," Sauber added. "In the short term, he will focus on exploiting the full potential of the C29, something we haven't been able to do in the first three races of the season.
"Looking further ahead, he will set about putting in place what he considers to be the right structure for the technical department. I'm certainly expecting there to be changes. However, these will not happen overnight. It's a process that will take place over a period of time."
Sauber, whose team was run by BMW since the start of the 2006 season, says the exit of the German car makes means his outfit is starting a new era and that it will take some time to adapt.
"We're experiencing a new beginning as a team and are in the process of adapting from a works outfit to an independent team," he said. "We've cut our budget by 40 percent and reduced the workforce by a third. That's a massive cutback. However, this economization process is something all the other established teams still have ahead of them as a result of the restrictions imposed by FOTA.
"What we have to do now is move away from the previous modus operandi and put new methods in place that will maximize efficiency. This applies not only to technical development, but also to the way we operate as a team – for example, how the engineers work with our two new drivers. That's something that needs time to bed in. James Key will have a wide variety of tasks. As an organization, everything is in place to get us back to our former strength."