Ericsson impressed by Sauber's resilience
21 December 2017 – Sauber's Marcus Ericsson has praised the team's resilience for the way it responded to its slump in form through the middle part of the 2017 Formula 1 campaign.
Sauber scored five points, courtesy of Pascal Wehrlein in Austria and Azerbaijan, but struggled for pace amid development problems and the impact of its year-old Ferrari engine being more keenly felt.
Ericsson and Wehrlein qualified as the slowest two drivers from Austria through to Japan, aside from in Hungary, when Wehrlein crept ahead of Williams' late stand-in Paul di Resta.
However, while Sauber never again threatened for points, it rallied during the closing rounds, only narrowly missing Q2 in the US, Mexico and Brazil, as it crept back into the lower end of the midfield.
Ericsson says he was heartened by Sauber's progress towards the end of the campaign, believing it would have been easy for the team to switch off and focus on 2018.
"[When] I heard the news Sauber was going to use the old PU [in 2017]… we knew it was not going to be good," said Ericsson.
"Everyone could see what happened with Toro Rosso [in 2016].
"You still have to try and look at it in a more positive way and say 'we'll focus more on the chassis side' and we did, but for sure it's a big handicap.
"That's why also I think with that in mind I've been quite impressed with the team and at the factory with the way we've been able to keep pushing and not give up.
"After the summer break it looked a disaster really, we were so far off the next car, over a second off per lap, and it was looking really, really bad.
"It would have been easy to give up completely and just think about next year for the team but they still kept pushing, in the factory they kept developing and bringing new stuff to the track.
"The last three or four weekends we were actually in the mix again and out-qualified people and out-raced people fair and square.
"That's a big thing for the team and shows the team has a lot of quality both on track but also at the factory."
Ericsson will remain with the Alfa Romeo-affiliated operation in 2018, alongside Ferrari-backed youngster Charles Leclerc.