Sauber chief designer Matt Morris believes the team is still very close to having the pace to challenge for the podium, but says the competitive nature of the field means it is currently fighting for lesser points.

14313 - Sauber close to the podium - Morris

Sergio Perez finished second to Fernando Alonso in the wet/dry race in Malaysia having threatened for victory, and Kamui Kobayashi displayed one-lap pace by qualifying third in China and setting the fastest lap of the race. The team has only picked up one point in the last two races, however, but Morris believes it is just a reflection of how close the whole grid is at present.

"I don't think Malaysia was a freak," Morris is quoted by Autosport. "The pace of our car, it is competitive - and you have seen that by having four different winners from the first four races. It is so close out there. I think the difference between a Malaysia and a Bahrain for us looks big, but it is actually quite small. Yet, that can be the difference between being on the podium and not getting any points."

Morris added that the team would have to look at its rivals to understand how to get the most out of the C31, having seen its grip on sixth-place in the championship loosen in recent weeks.

"You have always got to look forward, but you also have got to look at everybody around you because it is so close. With Williams and Force India being good points scorers, it is very close again. We had a 30-point margin to them and that has been reduced massively, so we need to look at what those guys are doing."