The Swiss outfit has scored just seven points over the opening 10 grands prix, leaving it languishing in eighth in the constructors' championship.
At the same stage last year the team had accumulated 80 points and was sixth, directly behind Mercedes.
Despite that downturn, Hulkenberg - who has scored all of Sauber's points this year – hopes its fortunes can be improved over the second half of the season.
"We're still working on this year's car," he said when asked by AUTOSPORT whether the team will now switch all its focus to the 2014 machine.
"The team will still work on this year's car after the summer break.
"I think a lot of teams have stopped development on this year's car and focused on next year. Because of that, it can be better [for us]."
Hulkenberg believes Sauber's new partnership with a trio of Russian companies will also help elevate the team.
"I think it's a good sign," he said of the deal.
"Fresh support and strong partners, and especially cash, is very powerful in Formula 1 to go forward and develop."