Sauber’s Frederic Vasseur expects a ‘significant step forward’ next year

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The team principal at Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Frederic Vasseur has said that he expects the team to make a ‘significant step forward’ next year.

The Sauber team will use the same spec Ferrari engines as Scuderia Ferrari after having to use 2016 equipment in the season just gone.

Earlier this month the team announced that Marcus Ericsson would return for a fourth season with the team and his fifth in Formula 1, and that he would be joined by 2017 FIA Formula 2 drivers’ champion Charles Leclerc.

“Yes, everybody is full of expectations,” said Vasseur. “I think we have made some strong choices.

“First on the engine: to have the 2018 [Ferrari] engine, that will mean a significant step forward for us – and we have started with a new car philosophy.”

Sauber finished bottom of the constructors’ championship last season with just five points, gained by Pascal Wehrlein in two European rounds. The closest team to them, McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team, finished the season on 30 points.

Vasseur expected McLaren to make a jump above them in 2017 when he joined Sauber at the beginning of the year.

“I would say that when I joined they were behind us, but they were already on the way to finding performance, so to jump ahead was rather unrealistic.”