Backmarkers Sauber have set themselves the target of narrowing the gap to the rest of the field in 2018.
The Swiss team was more than four seconds a lap off the pace on average last year – and over 1.5 seconds behind the next slowest car.
But they hope the new C37 car, launched on Tuesday, exciting new driver Charles Leclerc and closer links with engine partner Ferrari will make a difference.
“We have to catch up with the field,” team principal Frederic Vasseur said.
“And continue improving our performance during the course of the season.”
Sauber have signed highly rated rookie Leclerc – a Ferrari protege and the reigning Formula Two champion – to partner Swede Marcus Ericsson, who is entering his fourth season with the team.
They will be using an up-to-date Ferrari engine, rather than the year-old model used in 2017, and have attempted over the winter to produce a much more competitive car.
The new C37 features an unusual nose treatment aimed at best channelling the airflow under the car, and prominent branding from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari’s sister brand, which is returning to F1 for the first time since 1985.
Technical director Jorg Zander said: “The car philosophy is much different to that of the C36. The aerodynamic concept has changed significantly and it has several new features in comparison to its predecessor.
“We are positive that the new concept offers us more opportunities and will help us make improvements in the course of the season.”