Sauber C37, 2018

Ericsson and Leclerc are the “perfect” driver line-up for Sauber

2018 F1 season

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Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur believes his team has the “perfect” driver line-up in rookie Charles Leclerc and established driver Marcus Ericsson.

“I am convinced that Marcus and Charles form the perfect driver line-up, with one being an experienced driver and one a promising rookie,” said Vassuer as the team revealed its new car for the upcoming season.

Charles Leclerc, Formula Two, Jerez, 2017
It is he, Leclerc: Nine things you should know about Sauber’s new driver
Ericsson made his F1 debut with Caterham in 2014 and has driven for Sauber since then. He has started 76 grands prix but hasn’t scored a point since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.

“He is a valuable part of the team and we benefit from his experience and precise technical feedback,” said Vasseur. “As for Charles, he has proven his talent in prior categories and deserves to be on the Formula One grid this season.”

Leclerc, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, is the first driver to have won back-to-back championships in GP3 and Formula Two (formerly GP2). The 20-year-old has also made eight F1 practice appearances with Haas and Sauber over the last two seasons.

Leclerc is one of two drivers who will be making their grand prix debuts in Australia next month, the other being Williams’s Sergey Sirotkin.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Ericsson and Leclerc are the “perfect” driver line-up for Sauber”

    1. It is difficult to argue that Ericsson is fast enough to be at Sauber in 2018, but with the increased muscle and the push for Giovinazzi they still chose Ericsson. Perhaps he is great at developing the car? He definitely comes across as a nice guy, and if this rings true within the team then he is surely an important player in that he can bring the team together.

      If Ericsson can make the car faster over the season and Leclerc can drive it faster over the season, then perhaps it really is a “perfect” driver line-up for them!

      1. I would have agreed with you, but there I fail to see the improvement of the Sauber over the years and during the season. In fact Sauber has been going backwards since he got there, that won’t be his fault but I can’t figure out where he managed to improve the car either

        1. I think one thing is the improvements Sauber made in the final third of the 2017 season. They drew closer to Haas and Williams. Toro Rosso too, but that was courtesy of Toro Rosso replacing their drivers whilst not developing the car much.

          I agree Sauber has been going backwards in the last few years (Malaysia 2012 anyone?), but they wouldn’t even be around anymore had his sponsors not bailed them out. :P

        2. They have suffered from a lack of funding and development as a consequence. It was inevitable that Sauber would fall behind in the development race. I don’t think we can reasonably blame the drivers for it. This is the first year in a long time that they should be financially stable, and with the additional help from the Alpha branding they should be in a stronger position.

          I think also think taking on Vassuer was a very good move and he seems to have taken up the task with a fairly no nonsense approach.

            1. LOL…..Oops!

    2. One thing Sauber have said about Ericsson is very similar to what I said a while ago that could be a reaso why they kept him. It won’t just be the money. He is now in his 4th year with Sauber. That is a fair bit of expeience and it could have been that as well as his money that made Sauber keep him over Wehrlein. He has been unlucky is quite a few races ver the last 2 years not to score points but I think he should manage it this year.

      1. Wehrlein lost that seat as soon as Sauber announced the renewed partnership with Ferrari/Alfa Romeo.
        The only question is, why haven’t they went with Giovanazzi, and for how long we will have to witness Ericsson dragging cars in F1. I don’t remember a driver having so much opportunities based on so little.

        1. @johnmilk, the two massive accidents that Giovinazzi had in China did not help his cause, particularly given that his second accident came from making a fairly similar mistake to the one that caused his first crash. Later on in the season, when he was allowed to drive Haas’s car during free practise sessions, he also had a reasonably sizeable crash in FP1 in Hungary. He might have shown pace, but given he’s shown that he’s a bit error prone at times too, I can understand why Sauber might not have necessarily wanted to give him the seat.

          1. Just what I think anon. And another thing is that Giovinazzi has had 2 races. Ericsson has nearly had 4 full seasons. And 3 full seasons With Sauber. He obviously missed a few races when Caterham went into administration at the end of 2014. But I used to think that early on in 2015 that Ericsson was the worst driver on the grid. I didn’t think he would improve. The car has gone backwards and although he still makes mistakes, I think his pace has improved a lot. He just hasn’t had the luck to show it whenever he was close to the points. in the last couple of years He also did comment that Sauber haven’t managed to combine his weight with the car as well as Wehrlein which he believed was a bit of a disadvantage to his pace. Something to do with the weight of the ballast Not sure how much I believe this. But I do think Ericsson would easily be a better choice for Sauber both because of his money and experience. Although they haven’t been in the points, I think he had several very decent races last year.

            Just to make people aware, I don’t think Ericsson is a good driver compared to majority of the grid. But given Saubers situation, I think they made the right choice in keeping him.

            1. Apologies to full stops and sentences being a bit messed up. This always seems to happen with my blue tooth keyboard with my tablet.

    3. Ericsson and Leclerc are the “perfect” driver line-up for Sauber

      I think we should interpret ‘perfect’ as “no expectations, no complaints, simply drive” !!

    4. Well, Ericsson’s sponsor owns the team, so of course he’s ‘perfect’…

      But even putting that aside for a moment, maybe it’s true. For a team like Sauber, having one driver bringing the cash to keep them afloat (and as an added bonus, not crashing all the time) and one very highly rated youngster bringing the manufacturer love is just about as perfect as they could realistically hope for.

      Good luck to them, be nice if they can get back into the proper midfield action over the course of the whole season.

    5. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      20th February 2018, 14:59

      If Alfa Romeo is bringing enough cash, and the Ferrari engine delivers, this team might show a better progress than Williams. I don’t mean that Sauber would end the year ahead of Williams, but, as Force India, they could beat Toro Rosso and be more efficient per dollar invested. Ericsson is the experience and the cash, Leclerc the talent that can deliver the points.

    6. Éricsson as part of the “perfect” driver line up…Vasseur you go too far!

    7. The only way you could consider the line-up to be ‘perfect’ is if you look at it as them having a young prospect, and someone to benchmark him against.

    8. It’s interesting that in that photo Leclerc is standing in front of Ericsson. Is there something to be read in that or is it simply because Leclerc has a much smaller stature?

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