Sauber has every chance of overhauling Mercedes for fifth place in F1's constructors' championship, according to chief designer Matt Morris.
The Swiss team claimed its fourth podium finish of the season in Japan after a strong drive from Kamui Kobayashi, while Mercedes failed to score. This closed the gap between the pair to just 20 points and Morris believes that Sauber has the potential to outscore Mercedes in the remaining five races.
"We have got a faster car than them at the moment," said Morris. "I doubt they will be putting any big upgrade packages on for the rest of the year, so we just have to be clever and composed and take points out of them every race weekend. There's absolutely no reason why we can't beat them."
Sauber has no major upgrades planned for the rest of the season after bringing new parts to both the Singapore and Japanese grands prix. Even so, Morris believes that there is still some untapped potential in the car that will allow Sauber to continue to improve.
"In terms of big update parts, this is what we have got now," said Morris. "Suzuka was the first circuit where we had the full upgrade package and could look at how it's working.
"We still think there is still more to come in Friday testing and hopefully in Korea we will get more out of it. The updates have taken a little bit of understanding, but now we feel that we understand the car well. There are a few bits related to it that we can understand further in the rest of the races, so hopefully we will have a good end to the season."
Morris also hailed Kamui Kobayashi's third place as the most satisfying of the team's four podium finishes. While Sergio Perez's near-win in Malaysia and third places in Canada and Italy were also high points, this is the first time that the team has managed to qualify and race so far up the order in one weekend.
"It is," he said when asked if Japan was the team's most satisfying race of the season. "We have been trying to do that all year, with strong qualifying and a strong race, and finally we managed to do it."