Sauber drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson both feel upbeat amid speculation that the financially-struggling team could be close to securing fresh investment.
Sauber has faced uncertainty for much of the past three years, with the lack of financial backing being reflected in its on-track displays and resulting in salaries being paid late to its staff.
It currently sits 10th in the constructors’ championship without a single point to its name.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said in May she felt confident that these issues could be resolved, and in Austria this weekend, team manager Beat Zehnder spoke of the progress being made.
“Paying salaries definitely helps for the atmosphere in the team,” Zehnder told Reuters.
“Paying the salaries, the outstanding salaries, is part of a comprehensive solution we were still working on. Obviously, there is a change in atmosphere because now everyone believes again that there is a future.
“The crucial thing so far was not to give up and I think we can be very proud of our team here on the track and at home that kept on pushing in our very limited areas.
“There was always light at the end of the tunnel. But as you know, Switzerland has just opened the longest railway tunnel in the world. The light was always there, the tunnel was just massively long. The tunnel is getting shorter now.”
Ericsson and Nasr said that the shift in atmosphere was noticeable at the team, and hope that it will result in the car being updated soon.
“I think it’s going in the right direction, definitely. We’ve passed the most difficult part,” Ericsson said.
“It seems to be better, which is positive, and hopefully the updates in the pipeline are getting closer. I think for everyone in the team it’s been tough, but now it’s looking like it’s going in the right direction.
“[Kaltenborn] hasn’t told me any details about why it’s looking positive. I know it’s been tough for the team, but now it’s in the right way.”
Nasr added: “The situation seems to have got better from what I hear – getting all the employees and the salaries paid it just gives a boost to everyone back at the factory, at the track,” he said. “I’m sure we can soon start updating the car.”