Monisha Kaltenborn hopes improvements to Sauber's car in 2016 can equip the team to make more of an impact in Formula One.
Last season Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr scored 36 points between them as Sauber finished above McLaren in the constructors' standings, a significant improvement on 2014, when they failed to score a single top-10 finish.
The new Sauber will take to the track for the first time on Tuesday at the second pre-season test event in Barcelona, the team forced to run their 2015 car last week due to delays in the development of its successor.
"We want to clearly improve," team principal Kaltenborn said. "Obviously, there's a certain position we'd like to achieve.
"But, to start with, it's important to become established in mid-field. Only then are we going to focus on individual positions."
Nasr outscored Ericsson by 16 points last year, but the Swede is pleased with the updates to Sauber's car - including Ferrari's new gearbox - and hopes the changes can help both drivers exceed the 11 top-10 finishes they managed between them last term.
"The battle for positions is getting fiercer," Ericsson said. "But I'm convinced that, with the new car, we're going to take a step forward so that we can finish in the points with greater consistency and under our own steam.
"Last year we managed a good start. In the second half of the season it was a harder struggle for us to score points.
"This season I'd like to see us being in contention for points and fighting on a level where speed is decisive. I know that everyone at the factory is working very hard in this direction."