Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Sauber was in “survival mode” for two-and-a-half years – Ericsson

2018 F1 season

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Marcus Ericsson says Sauber hit “rock bottom” and were struggling to survive for most of his spell at the team.

Discussing his four years at the team Ericsson described how it began promisingly after joining them from Caterham.

“When I came here we had a great start to [2015] with some strong races, strong results, quite a lot of points,” he said. “But then from sort of halfway through that season it became like a survival mode type of racing for two-and-a-half years.”

Sauber faced financial problems which led to it being acquired by investment company Longbow in 2016. However it spent the 2017 season using year-old engines. Ericsson failed to score a point in either championship.

“It was a very, very tough time for the team,” he said. “We were struggling a lot, being less and less competitive and that was making it very difficult for you as a driver. We were really at rock bottom it felt like.”

A deal to use Honda power units in 2018 was scrapped and the team has now pursued a closer relationship with Ferrari, using their current power units. The team were much more competitive in 2018 and rose from 10th to eighth in the constructors’ championship.

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Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Ericsson ended his points drought in Bahrain
“We managed to turn it around and to be part of that transformation we’ve had the last 12 months has been fun and I’m proud of being part of that. This last season has been really great I think for the team and for me as well.”

However Ericsson admitted “the disappointing part is not being able to continue it.

“I’ve been here through all the bad times and now it’s [been] good times this year. I feel very much part of that journey with the team with everything that’s been happening.

“That’s why it’s sad to not be continuing that because now it feels like we’re really starting to hit our stride as a team, fight higher up the field and it would have been nice to continue that next year.

“But that’s the way it is. I’m still proud of what I’ve done and I feel that it would have been nice to continue that next year.”

Ericsson will be Sauber’s third driver and brand ambassador next year. He has also signed a deal to race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport in IndyCar.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 8 comments on “Sauber was in “survival mode” for two-and-a-half years – Ericsson”

    1. Can’t feel too sorry for him though. He had plenty of opportunities in the past 4 seasons to show what he was really capable of, but more often than not he was below par. All his teammates were better than him (Nasr included), so it’s no surprise to see him dropped once the team hit his stride.

      1. Wasn’t he part of the Longbow investment deal? #moneytalks

        Upwards and onwards hence Kimi is happy to drive for Sauber again.

      2. Those 2 points that Nasr got in Brazil seem to totally change some peoples views on these 2 team mates season in 2016. Ericsson was very cleary better for the majority of the season. Not by that much though. The year before, Nasr was far better for the first half of the season, but i think in the 2nd half, Ericsson was a little better. Overall, despite Nasr scoring more points over the two seasons, Ericsson looked better in the end. But I can’t say that about any of his other team mates.

        1. looked better in the end, but definitely worse throughout their 2 years together

        2. Well, what makes someone champion at the end of the year? Points or “looking better”?
          Nasr scored more points on his two seasons than Ericsson in five.

          This rock bottom that left him pointless wasn’t as deep for Nasr and Wehrlein, both scored points with the same poor equipment.

          Then he was to be the benchmark for a new guy and the new guy wiped the floor with him.

          Not gonna miss him at all.

          1. > Well, what makes someone champion at the end of the year? Points or “looking better”?

            To be fair, in a world where people have their personal “real champion”s for [insert closely-contested season]…..

    2. The fight for the midfield, best of the rest trophy will be great to watch next year.
      I guess Renault will have to do well.. they would have been 5th if FI kept his points..(or is Haas had some luck maybe 6th) and there seems little progress on the chassis side so far.
      So Sauber, Renault and Racing Point and probably Haas will fight for the 4th place.. nice!
      Maybe a unexpected participant with a strong development under the new rules will shake it up even further.

      1. Renault will have to do well.. they would have been 5th if FI kept his points.

        Umm, FI+RPFI was beaten by Renault fair and square this year.

        I’d say the reason FI+RPFI lost out to Renault was their fund shortage in the first part of the year which hampered development, resulting in noticeably poor performance.

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