The delta layer depth response predicted by a simple statistical sputtering model is compared with molecular sputter depth profile data obtained on Langmuir–Blodgett delta layer systems. All input parameters of the statistical sputtering model are determined from low-fluence molecular dynamics simulations performed for 20-keV C60 cluster bombardment of silicon, making the model de facto parameter free. It is found that both calculated and measured depth response functions can be parametrised by the semiempirical Dowsett expression. The resulting parameters (leading and trailing edge slope, full-width at half-maximum) agree surprisingly well with those determined from the measured depth profiles. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.