F1: Mid-table team identified as 'one to watch' in 2019
Two mid-table teams have come out and shared their beliefs that one of their group rivals are 'the team to watch', ahead of this year's new season.
In less than two months' time, we see the return of the Formula One family as a new season is set to begin in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix on March 17. It's a championship already known as having one of the most exciting driver line-ups since F1 began back in 1950.
That has been helped by the excitement to expect from mid-table teams as the likes of Racing Point, Toro Rosso and Haas will be fighting for the all-important places in the constructors championship. One team that some eyes are firmly fixed on, is Sauber.
The Switzerland-based group has a fresh drivers' line-up for 2019 as the departure of young hopeful Charles Leclerc saw the man from Monaco join Scuderia Ferrari, while Marcus Ericsson has switched from F1 to Indy Car.
Their replacements includes a 2001 reunion for 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and F1 sees a new face on the grid with Italian Antonio Giovinazzi taking over from Ericsson.
Perez and Sainz issue warnings on Sauber's potential
With a former world champion now representing Sauber, one of their former racers Sergio Perez - now at Racing Point - believes they are the team to keep tabs on.
The Mexican said: "Sauber is a great team. They went through a very difficult period for a couple of years, but now I think with the Ferrari relationship they are coming back. You see Fred [Vasseur] is a great team leader and I think they are making great progress.
"They are definitely the team to watch. Next season they are going to be quite high up. I am looking forward for that."
McLaren's new recruit, Carlos Sainz Jnr, does fear the Swiss team but considers all teams to be in with a chance of finishing high.
"We should all fear them," he said. "But next year we should fear everyone. You think about Sauber, but then you think about Force India with a bit more budget, what they could be capable of. You think about Renault, what they are able to do. You think about Haas, if they keep getting the amount of Ferrari parts that they are getting.
"You think about McLaren with a whole new project and wanting to invest and wanting to go back to P4 in the championship after a difficult year. You think about all these teams, and anyone could lead the midfield battle next year."
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