Ericsson and Wehrlein back Sauber’s decision to use Honda engines in 2018


Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson - Russian GP 2017. Credit: Sauber F1® Team / Sauber Motorsport AG

Sauber F1 Team drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein are adamant that the squad’s decision to run with the Honda power unit next season is a good move.

The Swiss team signed up to year old Scuderia Ferrari engines in 2017, having run with the Italian manufacturer since 2010, and they have been noticeably off the pace so far this season, finishing towards the bottom of the order at the majority of races, and particularly struggling at the last round in Russia.

Speaking to Autosport.com recently, Ericsson said he felt the current situation is not ideal but added that the Hinwil based team are trying their best to maximise the package.

“Obviously we’re running a year-old Ferrari engine, which is not going to [get much development] this season – so maybe it would’ve been better to be with a Honda engine now and trying to get that to work.

“But we have what we have now and we have been trying to always maximise the Ferrari power unit we have.”

To have such a huge power deficit so soon in the year, even finishing second best to the struggling McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team on occasion, is a serious let down for Sauber, but Ericsson believes they will make the best of it.

“It’s, of course, not what we want, but that’s what it is and it’s a fact. And we cannot do much about it.

“I think there will be certain tracks where we’re going to struggle more and certain tracks where the engine is a bit less important.

“We just need to keep our spirit high and work hard and we need to develop the car during the season, like we have planned.

“Feeling sorry that we have an old power unit is not going to help with anything.”

The Honda PU is by no means the best or most ideal solution out there however, having had a difficult return to the sport with the McLaren F1 Team since rekindling their previously successful partnership in 2014.

Despite the Japanese manufacturers numerous technical issues however, both Sauber drivers believe there is potential in the Honda engine, with the Swede happy to see the bigger picture, rather than concentrating on what is happening with Honda right now.

“I think for the team it’s a good step.

“Obviously looking at it now it doesn’t look so good, because Honda is having very big problems.

“But I think for longer-term it’s the right decision for the team. I think there is potential there.”

Wehrlein agrees with his team-mate’s thinking on the matter, and is hopeful it will be a beneficial partnership.

“I cannot say too much about it as I’m contracted to Sauber only for the 2017 season, but I think it’s a great decision for the team.