Struggling Sauber in Manor’s F1 sights

Formula One backmarkers Manor have struggling Sauber in their sights and will be disappointed to finish last again this season, according to racing director Dave Ryan.

Manor finished last overall in 2015, without scoring a point, but there are now 11 teams following the arrival of US-owned Haas.

Swiss-based Sauber, whose drivers collided with each other in Monaco last weekend, and Manor are yet to score points in 2016 with the former ahead on the basis of two 12th-place race finishes for Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson.

“Sauber are still a very strong team, they’ve got fantastic facilities but they’ve obviously got cash problems. If they are struggling as a result of that, that’s their problem – not ours,” Ryan told Reuters.

“The way we look at it is they are just another team we’ve got to try and beat. It just happens to be Sauber next door to us and, to some people, they are the obvious target.

“Well, maybe they are but we’ve got to try to be in a position to beat anyone who is in front of us really. I think we’d be very disappointed if we didn’t finish 10th – that’s for sure.”

The former McLaren team manager and sporting director joined Manor last year when they were still known as Marussia and struggling with a car way off the pace.

Since then, they have switched to the dominant Mercedes power units with the world champions’ German reserve Pascal Wehrlein, who finished 13th in Bahrain, racing with Indonesian Rio Haryanto.

American Alexander Rossi, who won the Indy 500 as a rookie last weekend, is the reserve.

“I think we are still discovering ourselves, to be honest,” said Ryan of the changes since the departure last season of principal and founder John Booth with sporting director Graeme Lowdon.

“I’ve only been here for a short period … we’ve got great ambition, we know what we want to achieve and we know it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there and we’ve got a lot to do.

“But we want to enjoy ourselves along the way if we can and that’s the message.”

Marussia finished ninth in 2014, scoring their only points via late French driver Jules Bianchi’s ninth place in Monaco, and then sinking into administration before an 11th-hour rescue under new ownership.

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