The Swiss-based outfit announced last Friday that Key was leaving to take a job in Britain with an unspecified employer.
“I think we have a strong team,” said Mexican Perez. “James was a key person, a good leader but I think we have very good people at the team who can handle the job and the team will be together.
“I am very confident the team will be very strong,” added Perez, looking forward to his second full season.
Ferrari-powered Sauber finished seventh overall last year, only three points ahead of Toro Rosso. Perez scored 14 points and Kobayashi 30.
“We want to score points on a regular basis,” said team founder Peter Sauber, making his by now standard apology for his spoken English but conveying his message clearly enough.
“I think that has to be one of our goals. And we want to improve in the championship significantly. It’s also important to finish the qualifying in the top 10 if possible.”
The new car had plenty of room for new sponsors but Kaltenborn was optimistic they would come on board before the season starts in Australia on March 18.
Chief designer Matt Morris said the car, with the ‘ugly’ stepped nose that is now commonplace among this year’s offerings with the exception of McLaren, was evolutionary and revolutionary.
“The C31 is revolutionary where we had fresh ideas, particularly at the rear of the car, and it is an evolution where we knew we could carry over certain approaches,” he said.
“We had to improve on the weaknesses we identified on the C30 but at the same time we wanted to maintain its strengths.”
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