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Ericsson: Current spec engine a big leap

NEWS STORY
08/02/2018

For the last few seasons Sauber has languished at - or very close to - the bottom of the team standings, occupying the position once the domain of the likes of Caterham and Marussia.

For a while, as McLaren's Honda nightmare continued, the Swiss team was ahead of the Woking team in 2017, but by season end had fallen to its traditional position, all 5 points coming from Pascal Wehrlein.

This year should see a marked improvement, what with a title sponsorship in the form of Alfa Romeo, a closer relationship with Ferrari and the team hopefully benefitting from Fred Vasseur's experience coupled with the first car from Jorg Zander since his return to Hinwil.

However, having struggled with a year-old Ferrari power unit in 2017, it is the deal which sees Sauber running the current-spec unit this season that gives Marcus Ericsson most hope for a strong year.

"I think it's a big leap to have the same engine as the Cavallino," said the Swede, according to Motorsport.com. "The team have a lot of confidence and a desire to do well.

"I got to see the car in a computer rendering and it seems very beautiful," he continued, "it should be an important step forward.

"Alfa Romeo's partnership means the return of an historic brand to F1. It is one more reason to believe that Ferrari will give us maximum support to grow. I'm confident."

Having spent 2017 fighting McLaren for ninth, Ericsson is hoping to be in amongst it with the midfield boys in the months ahead.

"We're up against Haas and Toro Rosso," he said. "I think next season will be very unpredictable in some races. It could go very well and at points we could also challenge Renault and Force India.

"But there will be other races where there will be problems and we will be further down," he admitted. "The goal is simply to get into the group of teams that are in the midfield, but it is clear that there will be a very open battle grand prix after grand prix.

"I want to be in the best shape possible to find the satisfaction that was missing in 2017," he concluded.

And with Ferrari hot-shot Charles Leclerc in the second Sauber seat, Ericsson will need to seriously raise his game if he is to remain in F1 for a sixth season.

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