Marcus Ericsson – Pascal Wehrlein’s “Hype” helped motivation

by Aaron Gillard

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team‘s Marcus Ericsson believes the “hype” surrounding former team-mate Pascal Wehrlein helped him, but says Formula 1 still hasn’t realised what he’s really capable of.

Wehrlein scored all of the Swiss team’s five points in the 2017 Formula 1 season, but yet still misses out on a drive, compare to Ericsson who remains with the team for 2018, partnering alongside FIA Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc.

Wehrlein arrived at Sauber as a Mercedes protege who was tipped to become Nico Rosberg‘s replacement at Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, after an impressive first year at Manor Racing. The German-Mauritian driver also won the 2015 DTM title before his arrival into F1.

Speaking to, Ericsson says that competing against Wehrlein boosted him and compared him to another former team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, who raced with Ericcson at Caterham F1 in 2014.

“I still feel like I’m developing as a driver and I’ve become better and better,” said Ericsson.

“My first year with Kamui was really tough, Kamui had a lot of experience and was a really good driver.”

“But I think Pascal is a super-talented driver and it’s been really good for me to have him as a team-mate. With all the hype that’s been around him being a Mercedes junior it’s been perfect for me to have him as a benchmark.”

“If you look at the statistics this year, if you take the average between team-mates we’re the closest ones on the grid. I think that says quite a lot and that’s been good for me.”

Sauber decided to keep on Ericsson for a fourth season in 2018, instead of selecting Scuderia Ferrari‘s Antonio Giovinazzi, who drove for the Swiss team in Australia and China as a stand in for Wehrlein.

Ericsson believes that towards the end of the season, he was outperforming Wehrlein.

“I think performance-wise it’s been quite OK, especially the last part I think has been better than OK – it’s been really good,” 

“But standing on zero points is obviously a big disappointment because in the end it’s points that count and obviously I haven’t scored any.”

“So result-wise, it’s been not what I wanted but there have been some good races.”

Ericsson continued saying he was looking for a move with midfield teams, but was unsuccessful. The Swede believes that he needs to be a in a decent car to show what he can really do in the sport.

“The problem is when you’re driving for a team that’s at the back of the grid it’s really difficult to impress people and to show what you can do.”

“I need to be in a car that’s regularly in the top 10 and then you can show your skills.”

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