Sauber rescued a "disaster" in 2017, says Ericsson

Sauber turned around a 2017 Formula 1 campaign that was becoming "a disaster", reckons Marcus Ericsson.

Sauber rescued a "disaster" in 2017, says Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc, Sauber

Though Sauber spent most of the season at the rear of the grid and did not score again after Pascal Wehrlein's 10th place in June's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, it went from being cut adrift at the back to challenging other midfield teams in the closing races.

The team gained pace from chassis developments, and also made a step forward in straightline speed.

Sauber used 2016 Ferrari engines in '17, but will get the latest specification next season as it increases its Ferrari ties and begins a new relationship with Alfa Romeo.

Ericsson said the chassis work Sauber did to make up for its power deficit had really impressed him.

"To be honest, the team didn't have much choice. They had to go with the old power units for different reasons," he said.

"I think they were hoping it was not going to be a big disadvantage, but straight away when I heard the news that Sauber was going to use the old power unit, you knew it was not going to be good.

"Everyone could see what happened with Toro Rosso [using old Ferrari engines in 2016] so there was no surprise there.

"You have to still try to look at it in a positive way, and say that we'll focus more on the chassis side, and we did, but for sure it was going to be a big handicap.

"But with that in mind, I'm quite impressed with the team and the factory and the way we were able to keep pushing and keep development.

"After the summer break, it really looked like a disaster - we were so far off the next cars, we were over a second off per lap.

"It was looking really, really bad and it would have been easy for the team then to give up completely and think about next year.

"But they still kept pushing and in the factory, they kept developing and bringing new stuff to the track and actually the last three or four weekends we were in the mix again and still outqualifying people and outracing people fair and square.

"That's a big thing and it shows that this team has a lot of quality both at the track and in the factory."

Sauber has undergone changes in ownership and management in recent seasons, with Fred Vasseur taking over from Monisha Kaltenborn as team principal during 2017.

Ericsson believes 2018 will be the year when Sauber starts moving back up the field.

"I think Sauber has something good coming, especially next year," he said. "There are a lot of things that have been happening in the team this year.

"It's not going to change overnight. All the people that have been coming in this season and are going to come in during the winter now, it's going to make a difference next year.

"And also with Fred, he started in the middle of this year and it always takes some time before he's able to get the team the way he wants it.

"It's all going to pay off next year so I think Sauber as a team have a very exciting future, especially starting with next year.

"It's a fresh start for the team. I definitely think that Sauber can take the step and be in the mix in the midfield."

shares
comments
Hamilton: Wolff winter meeting "reset" relationship for 2017

Previous article

Hamilton: Wolff winter meeting "reset" relationship for 2017

Next article

Ferrari's landmark F1 cars: Vettel's first hybrid winner

Ferrari's landmark F1 cars: Vettel's first hybrid winner
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Marcus Ericsson
Teams Sauber
Author Ben Anderson
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021