Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson will remain at the Sauber Formula 1 team for a third successive season after the Swiss outfit announced a one-year contract extension for 2017.
With occasional race wins in the GP2 Series, Ericsson made his Formula 1 debut with Caterham in 2014 before switching to Sauber in 2015. He finished eighteenth overall in the championship standings that year, but hasn’t managed to score a points’ finish since last year’s Italian Grand Prix amid the team’s 2016 struggles.
“It is great news that I will be racing for another year for Sauber,” he commented in a team press release.
“I have spent two years with Sauber now, and I really feel at home. From a personal point of view, I have developed a lot as a driver during my time at Sauber. We have had ups and downs, but we always stick together and work as hard as we can.”
After teammate Felipe Nasr claimed a breakthrough points’ finish with ninth place at last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix to move it into tenth overall in the Constructors’ Championship standings, Ericsson is confident that the additional financial reward – coupled with further investment from the team’s new owners – will move it further up the grid next year.
“Since the new ownership, there has been a positive push in the team, so it will also be exciting to go into this new era,” he said.
“Many motorsport experts are becoming part of Sauber, which is a good sign for the future. For 2017 my aim is to build on my performance from the second half of this season, and to continue working hard with the team. I cannot wait for the 2017 season, so that we can make our way up to the midfield with the objective to score points on a regular basis.”
Sauber confirmed that the identity of Ericsson’s teammate “will be announced in due course”.
The future of Ericsson’s current teammate Felipe Nasr remains uncertain despite the Brazilian’s points-scoring drive on home soil. It is understood that there are concerns over the long-term viability of his Brazilian backers given the country’s poor economic state, while paddock rumours are rife that the relationship between driver and team has soured.
The confirmation of Ericsson’s re-signing means that only three seats remain on next year’s Formula 1 grid.
Aside from the second Sauber seat, both drives at Manor Racing are still unconfirmed. Given the team looks set to lose upwards of $11 million in prize fund revenue in 2017 as a result of being demoted outside of the top-ten in the Constructors’ Championship standings by Sauber, it will need to rely on at least one well-funded pay driver to shore up its financial position for 2017.
Image via XPB Images
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