Sauber driver line-up will lead to regular points in 2018, says Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson believes Alfa Romeo Sauber can “fight for points on every weekend” during the second half of the Formula 1 season because of their continued developments, which he says partially owe to their strong driver line up.

Speaking to Green Flag F1 on Thursday in Austria, Ericsson said the effectiveness of his pairing with team-mate Charles Leclerc has helped the Swiss team with the development of their C37 chassis.

Ericsson said they “try and learn from each other” and have been “working very well together with the team to develop the car.”

“I think that’s important for a Formula 1 team, to have two drivers that can understand each other and work hard together,” Ericsson said.

Alfa Romeo Sauber drivers for 2018, Charles Leclerc (left) and Marcus Ericsson.
Alfa Romeo Sauber drivers for 2018, Charles Leclerc (left) and Marcus Ericsson.

After eight rounds of the 2018 season, the two drivers have given Alfa Romeo Sauber 13 points in the Constructors World Championship.

This leaves the team sitting ninth, just six points behind Toro Rosso.

When asked if Alfa Romeo Sauber could catch the sixth and seventh-placed teams, Force India and Haas, Ericsson said, “If we can keep scoring points every weekend then you know, why not?”

“We’ve shown the last few races we can be competitive on all types of tracks,” he quipped, eluding to his P11 on the slow and windy Monaco street track which was followed by a P10 for Leclerc on the quick and flowing Paul Ricard circuit.

On Friday in Austria, Ericsson finished the two ninety-minute practice sessions in P11 and P14.

Ericsson felt that despite racing at circuits with quite different characteristics, being continually consistent has brought confidence to the team.

Ericsson on-track during the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix, where he scored both his and Alfa Romeo Sauber's first points of the season.
Ericsson on-track during the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix, where he scored both his and Alfa Romeo Sauber’s first points of the season.

“The goal for us is to be there and fight for points every Sunday,” he said.

Alfa Romeo Sauber’s current points tally of 13 is almost double what they scored throughout the entire 2016 and 2017 seasons.

“Overall as a team, we’ve made some great improvements from where we were the last two seasons,” Ericsson said.

Alfa Romeo Sauber has been helped by having an up-to-date Ferrari PU this year and Ericsson felt the C37’s improvements have been “very, very positive.” Technical Editor Giorgio Piola said the progress of Alfa Romeo Sauber in 2018 has been “mightily impressive” and described their car as “point-grabbing.”

“It’s been a good start to the year,” Ericsson felt.

He described it as a “great success” to give Alfa Romeo Sauber their first points in 2018 by finishing ninth in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I really see a great potential in Sauber at the moment,” he said.

When asked where he’d finish at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Ericsson replied without hesitation, “in the points.”

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Steven Walton is an 18-year-old Journalism Student at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. He previously attended St Andrew's College in Christchurch, where he excelled at History and Classical Studies. Steven is the Editor-in-Chief at Green Flag F1 and spends most of his days living, breathing, and immersing in the Formula 1 world.

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