Formula 1

Ericsson determined to end Sauber stint with points finish

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Ericsson will dovetail a full IndyCar season in 2019 with an F1 reserve driver role at Sauber. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Marcus Ericsson believes the “strong form”, shown by the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in recent grands prix will allow him to score points in Abu Dhabi, his final Formula 1 race for the time being.

Swede Ericsson will step down from driving duties at Sauber after his 97th grand prix start at the Yas Marina Circuit, after Sauber opted to take Antonio Giovinazzi to partner 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen for 2019. He will be kept on by the team as reserve driver, as well as competing for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport in IndyCar.

After two pointless F1 campaigns with the Hinwil-based squad in 2016 and 2017, Sauber’s increased competitiveness in ’18 has allowed the 28-year-old to score nine championships and reach the final segment of qualifying on numerous occasions.

It will be a special weekend, and I aim to finish it on a high [as this is] the last race for me in this stint in Formula 1,” said Ericsson, who will drive the #7 SPM car when he makes his IndyCar debut next Spring.

We have had some good results recently, and our form is strong. The car is competitive, and we will push to being home some more points. I look forward to this season finale very much.”

Hoping to build on Brazil

In qualifying for the last grand prix in Brazil, Ericsson out-qualified Scuderia Ferrari-bound team-mate Charles Leclerc to post the seventh quickest time.

A grid penalty for Daniel Ricciardo promoted the Sauber driver to sixth on the grid, alongside Max Verstappen, in what to date is his best ever starting spot in F1.

The race itself was a different story, as diffuser trouble and contact on the opening lap left the Sauber damaged, leading to Ericsson declaring over the radio that “I cannot drive this,” after a spin on Lap 21.

Despite that setback, team-mate Leclerc managed to take ‘Class B’ victory with seventh place, and move Sauber onto 42 points in the constructors’, cementing eighth place – it’s best results since the 2013 season.

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Jake Nichol is a motorsport journalist writing about the Formula 1 world championship for The Checkered Flag. He is currently freelancing for Autosport, where his work includes IndyCar, NASCAR and UK-wide national race meetings.
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