Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson says he is “very likely” to remain with the team in 2017 and hopes to sign a new deal with the team ahead of next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sauber is one of two teams with seats available for next season, with Manor also yet to confirm either of its drivers for 2017. Following the confirmation of line-ups at Force India, Renault and Haas ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Ericsson says in an interview with the media yesterday that he now expects to remain at Sauber for a third consecutive season. Ericsson said the following:-
‘I think I’ll still be here next year, let’s see. Nothing is done yet but that’s what it looks like now, especially after last week with what happened. It’s likely, but before it’s done I need to wait until it’s done, let’s put it that way. But it is very likely I would say.’
Asked if he hopes his future is confirmed before Abu Dhabi, Ericsson replied with the following:- ‘Yeah, I hope so.’
Despite Felipe Nasr picking up Sauber’s first points of the season in Brazil, ex Sauber and soon to be ex Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez has also been linked with a seat at the team and was pictured in talks with Monisha Kaltenborn at Interlagos.
While Ericsson could end up fighting his current team-mate for one of the Sauber seats, he insists in his interview yesterday that he was pleased to see Nasr score the points that moved the team ahead of Manor in the constructors’ championship. Ericsson added the following:-
‘It’s just fantastic for the team. Felipe did an exceptional job in the race. I’m really, really happy for all the people here, they’ve been working extremely hard all year. It’s not been an easy one. Especially the second half of the year we’ve made steps forward all the time and improved and it’s been really good. To get those points is fantastic for everyone, so I’m really, really happy for everyone.
‘It’s a team sport and as a team that’s what we’ve been aiming for the whole year. Of course I wanted it to be me, it’s easy to understand like that, but I’m a team player. Felipe did an exceptional job in Brazil and I’m really happy for him and for the team.’
And lastly, Ericsson says the result motivates him to do well in the final race next weekend having crashed out in Brazil. Ericsson said the following:-
‘No, I thought Mexico was close enough and Brazil was another chance. Of course it’s a big relief for the whole team, we will be a bit more relaxed in Abu Dhabi, but I am still very determined to do a very good job there because I don’t want to end the season like this.’