Ericsson defends record against Wehrlein
13 December 2017 – Marcus Ericsson has defended his record against former Sauber team-mate Pascal Wehrlein, despite failing to score a point in 2017, compared to the five amassed by the Mercedes junior.
Ericsson, who has not finished in the top 10 since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, will stay on at Sauber in 2018, while Wehrlein, who scored all of the team's 2017 points, has been overlooked.
Wehrlein and Ericsson were the closest-matched team-mates on pace across one lap in 2017, with the German on average holding a slender 0.05s advantage over Ericsson.
Ericsson defended his record, pointing to Sauber's position at the back of the grid, and the infrequent opportunities which arise.
"I still feel like I've developed as a driver and become better and better," explained Ericsson.
"[My] first year [in Formula 1] with Kamui [Kobayashi] was really tough, Kamui had a lot of experience and was a very good driver.
"I think Pascal has been a super-talented driver and really good for me to have him as a team-mate.
"The hype around him as a Mercedes junior has been perfect for me to have him as a benchmark.
"If you look at the statistics this year, if you take the average between team-mates, I think we're the closest [pairing] on the grid if you look at the qualifying sessions and the races.
"The only problem is we've been most of the time at the back and not fighting for points, that's why I stand on zero points and him five points and it looks like a big difference.
"But, actually, if you look more closely on numbers, it's been really, really close between us."
When asked why he felt the situation had not been widely noticed, Ericsson said: "I think the problem is when you're driving for a team that's in the back of the grid it's really difficult to impress.
"Even if I do a really good weekend it means maybe I qualify ahead of my team-mate.
"In the middle of the season we were really far off everyone, even if I qualified ahead of Pascal and had a really good race we still finished last and second last.
"No-one would know if you did a really good race or not.
"I need to be in a car that's regularly in the top 10 and then you can show your skills, I'm ready for that, I've been working hard for the last few years and that's what I need for the next step."
Ericsson will be joined at Alfa Romeo Sauber by Ferrari protégé and reigning Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc in 2018.