[F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] MARCUS ERICSSON: CRUCIAL CAMPAIGN

2018 is a crucial season for Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

The 27-year-old is set to begin his fifth year at the pinnacle of motorsport, his fourth with the Swiss team – as it starts its journey with beloved Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo.

SOUNDBITE (English) MARCUS ERICSSON,
F1 DRIVER, SAUBER:
“I’ve been here for a while now, and seen the team grow together and we’ve become stronger and stronger over the years and been waiting for an opportunity like we have this year.”

And technically, all the right ingredients are there for a stronger season – Sauber’s aggressive new C37 featuring lots of aerodynamic detail, and the latest-spec Ferrari power unit, gearbox and rear suspension.

But Ericsson has his work cut out for him… His teammate, Monégasque Charles Leclerc, is arguably the most exciting rookie prospect since Max Verstappen in 2015.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLES LECLERC,
F1 DRIVER, SAUBER:
“I’m very, very excited about 2018. It will be my first year in Formula 1 and I’ve worked very, very hard to arrive here – so to finally be here is feels incredible.”

Leclerc monstered the junior categories, winning the inaugural Formula 2 championship last year with seven race victories, and eight poles.

And should the 20-year-old score more points, he will become the third teammate of Ericsson to do so in four years…  

Brazilian Felipe Nasr showed well in both 2015 and 2016, scoring the team’s only points in the latter season with two in the rain in Brazil, Pascal Wehrlein repeated the feat last year, bringing home all five of Sauber’s points and outqualifying Ericsson 11-7.

Ericsson’s F1 career began with Caterham in 2014, on the back of a strong showing in the junior categories - the Swede a GP2 race winner, with titles in Formula BMW and Japanese Formula 3.

He’s since failed to make his mark in F1, his last points scored at the 2015 Italian Grand Prix. Ericsson reportedly only getting the nod for this year at the behest of Longbow Finance’s Swedish owner, with Ferrari protege Antonio Giovinazzi sidelined.

But, it’s a short term reprieve, team principal Frederic Vasseur focused on taking the team back to the head of the midfield. So Ericsson has to up his game and quickly, or be consigned to F1’s history books.

SOUNDBITE (English) MARCUS ERICSSON,
F1 DRIVER, SAUBER:
“I’m looking forward to using my experience, it’s my fifth year in Formula 1, to put that to work and do a great season.