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Marcus Ericsson: Sauber "moving in the right direction", Singapore to test F1 progress

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Marcus Ericsson: Sauber "moving in the right direction", Singapore to test F1 progress
Sep 15, 2016, 3:29 PM

Marcus Ericsson says the Sauber team is “moving in the right direction” after the recent takeover by its new owners allowed the team to produce...

Marcus Ericsson says the Sauber team is “moving in the right direction” after the recent takeover by its new owners allowed the team to produce developments aimed at moving it up the Formula 1 grid.

The Longbow Finance investment group purchased the Swiss squad in July shortly before the Hungarian Grand Prix and since then it has been able to introduce updated parts for the C35, as well as hire more members of staff.

Ericsson, who will make his 50th F1 start this weekend, also reckons the high-downforce nature of the Marina Bay circuit will give Sauber a chance to properly assess those developments as the high-speed nature of the two most recent races at Spa and Monza have not helped the team to show the progress it believes it has made.

Singapore Grand Prix 2016

As the high downforce street circuit layout in Singapore rewards strong aerodynamic performance, Ericsson believes this will give Sauber a better chance to see what impact its post-summer break update package is having.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference for the Singapore Grand Prix, Ericsson said: “I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction, we’ve got some new signings, new personnel in the team and it’s good with fresh ideas. It’s positive for everyone.

“One the car side, we got some updates going [on] in the last couple of races. It’s interesting and we’re trying them out, trying to optimise them.

Marcus Ericsson

“Coming here it Singapore will also be very interesting for us because it will be the first time we will really run the full new package that we introduced after the summer break. So it will be a very interesting weekend for us to see how far it gets us really.”

When asked what the update package was specifically designed to address, Ericsson explained that the C35 has been lacking overall downforce, but the team feels its upgrades should provide significant improvements.

“It is general downforce that we’ve been lacking and hopefully, [from] the signs we’ve got so far, we have gained quite a bit on that side,” he said. “But both Monza and Spa, the last two races where we had this package, have not been high downforce tracks, so it’s a bit of an unknown.

Singapore Grand Prix 2015

“Hopefully here in Singapore, [which] is obviously a very high downforce track, we will see how this update package is working.”

Ericsson’s teammate Felipe Nasr also attended the pre-race press conference and was asked about his future in F1 beyond this season. The Brazilian driver, who has been linked to Felipe Massa’s soon-to-be vacant Williams seat, explained that while he did not have any news about his plans for 2017, he also outlined the progress Sauber has made since being taken over by Longbow.

He said: “Right now I don’t have any news [about 2017]. Hopefully soon, but right now I don’t have much to say. All I can say [is] that at Sauber things are moving forward, I can see the team really stepping up, [with] a lot of new people coming in. It’s still a very attractive place to be.”

Felipe Nasr Marcus Ericsson

The Singapore race is famous for being long – it usually runs very close to the two-hour time limit due to its low average lap speed, number of corners and potential safety car appearances – and tough for the drivers because of the city-state’s hot and humid climate.

But Nasr believes Sauber should try to take advantage of any surprising results or incidents in the race and aim to score its first points of the season.

He said: “The race itself normally brings a lot of surprises, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. We’ve been fighting to sneak into the points, so why not this weekend? Let’s try it again.”

What have you made of Sauber’s recent form? Do you think the team can score its first points of 2016 at the Singapore Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Marcus Ericsson
Teams Sauber