Sauber sign Ericsson for 2015 season

2015 F1 season

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Sauber has confirmed Marcus Ericsson will join them for the 2015 season.

The Swedish driver made his F1 debut for Caterham this year, but is without a drive at the moment since the team went into administration.

“Fresh from a very turbulent week, I was suddenly given my best early Christmas present ever,” said Ericsson. “It makes me proud as Sauber is known to be one of the best teams in developing young drivers.”

The news means one of Sauber’s two current drivers – Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil – will not remain with the team next year.

“We have got to know Marcus as a highly motivated driver,” said team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “He did not have an easy rookie season this year in Formula One, however, he kept calm and improved continuously, mainly in the last races.”

“We are convinced that signing Marcus can give the team a fresh impetus.”

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Image © Caterham/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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71 comments on “Sauber sign Ericsson for 2015 season”

  1. They had better not keep Sutil

    1. Ericsson confirmed and rumours are Van der Gard are joining Sauber next year. Better than Sutil, I guess. Ericsson was good in last few races but it’s his money that is getting the seat.

      Hope Gutierrez finds a seat. Doesn’t look like any seats are available if you consider Marussia and Caterham do not make it back.

      Lotus have confirmed drivers and Force India will need 2nd pay driver since 1st is gone to Hulk.

      1. I think FI will keep Perez, whom I rate higher than Gutierrez.

        1. Perez is good driver, no doubt, but Force India are in poor financial state, so that will be deciding factor too.

    2. So what happened to the Sirotkin?

  2. You can read this both ways:

    a) God, they are signing HIM?! Sauber’s in trouble

    b) Good ! they are getting rid of either Gutierrez or Sutil ! Finally Sauber is getting back on track !

    1. I’m just reading this as a sign that they will hopefully be on the grid next season.

    2. You can’t deny Sutil’s experience, he is indeed way better than Gutierrez, though he’s not by any means the best Sauber can get. Having two pay drivers would mean more trouble for next year, especially given how Ericsson measures against Koba.
      On the other hand, Gutierrez brings huge money, we’re talking about sponsorship from the richest guy on earth.
      Difficult situation… I’d have given Sirotkin a go in Gutierrez’s place, but well, same thing as Verstappen.

      1. @carlitox being better than Gutierrez isn’t that much of a task, really…

        I simply think that Sutil has been in F1 for way too long considering his performances. Others have been kicked off faster… but the guy’s been racing since 2007, 6 years of F1 racing he doesn’t deserve IMO.

        1. I do agree with that, he’s quite erratic. He started out poorly, then kicked up when Force India got competitive, then went down again, and just now put a good show.

        2. @fer-no65 The remarkable thing about Sutil is that he started racing only at 14/15, yet within 10 years was sitting on an F1 grid. I doubt any other driver now in this era of lifetime professionals has that sort of delayed start, yet proved to still be F1 material.

          Most youngsters would now be moving into cars when Sutil had just driven a kart for the first time! Sutil is thus the throwback that provides some variety, or a link to the past, in how some drivers practically made it from starting anywhere.

          1. @fastiesty I’ll save your efforts to convince me :P I hate the guy… I’d rather have 2 di Restas than him and that says a lot already !

          2. @fer-no65 Heh, I’ll agree with you there, really, di Resta should have continued instead of Sutil, if money didn’t talk.

    3. A $40 million bung from Ericsson’s backers can’t be ignored, but frankly, both their current drivers are hardly inspiring… Sutil should have been dropped for VdG earlier in the year – he’s too heavy for the car and hasn’t done much but complain – whilst Gutierrez has been fairly unlucky, but still nothing special (he should have done a Grosjean and jumped back into a lower Formula for a year or two).

      1. $40m? Where’s your source for this?

    4. or they’re keeping all three of them!

      I’d rather see a Ferrari young’un like Marciello in there – but as we’ve just seen with Marussia, that deal isn’t enough to keep a team going. Although Sauber would never allow Marussia-sized debts to build up.

      1. Sauber have been doing relatively well in previous seasons, but they seem to be getting poorer and poorer. It definitely has nothing to do with mismanagement. Rather, it is a grim reminder of the Bernie sharing formula. Sauber is one of the older teams on the grid and have been consistent. But they can’t outspend the big spenders and they can’t survive on their income. Then you add the very expensive but woeful engine from Ferrari and you have the perfect example of a swindle.
        Ferrari can afford to have useless engines for the next 10 years, Sauber cannot.

    5. A move that smacks of desperation.

  3. I’m happy for Ericsson. It’s hard to see how good he is in a team like Caterham, but Sauber must have some faith in his abilities as from what I’ve read he isn’t bringing huge money with him. He didn’t embarrass himself this year and definitely improved (let’s forget about his slip in Hungary!).

    Now I just hope Sauber exist by the time free practice 1 in Melbourne begins next year.

    1. “let’s forget about his slip in Hungary!”
      He’s had other crashes as well, while being very slow (and the recent upturn in form was mostly thanks to the upgraded front wing which Kobayashi didn’t have and Ravetto expected to be as fast as Sauber and Lotus – well, had Kamui driven with it maybe…), and his crash in Hungary plays a very crucial part in the WDC battle – in my view Rosberg would have been at least 30 points before Hamilton had that safety car not mix up the race. (I know Rosberg had the chance to get places after that, but his race was upset from then on)

      I think Ericsson is the slowest driver on this year’s grid anyway.

      1. To the last line, just remember when Frijns, Merhi and Lotterer jumped in the car and pretty much all had beaten him immediately.

      2. @hunocsi those are good points, I had no idea about Ericsson being given more advanced parts. You’re right he’s been very slow. He might surprise us next year. All in all while there’s more talented people without a drive I’d prefer to take him over an older driver with a floundering career like Sutil.

      3. According to Ericsson himself the upswing was due to caterhams new simplified breaking system which I believe they both have used.

        1. Well, he would say that.

      4. SennaNmbr1 (@)
        2nd November 2014, 8:26

        He is now that Chilton isn’t there.

      5. @hunocsi Slower than Chilton? Ericsson has at least won 2 junior titles..

        1. I think the two are pretty much on the same level – maybe Ericsson is a fraction faster, but he’s that much more error-prone.

          1. Did you guys watch the qualifying to the Russian GP, where Ericsson was 0,1 of a second to qualify into Q2 on pure speed?
            Or did you guys watch the race in Japan, where he out-qualified Koba with almost a second, despite having a much more heavier car? He spun on the first lap due to a braking problem, but overtook all of the backmarkers and finished far ahead, even challenching Lotus and Sauber at some points!

  4. It was difficult to read Ericsson’s potential this year, so this should be a good test of whether he’s F1-worthy material. Although I think I said the same thing about Gutierrez when he got re-signed for this year…

    1. I don’t think it is.

      Put it this way, the young guns, Magnussen, Bottas, hell even Ricciardo is only a few years in. Kyvat.

      Compared to them, how is Ericsson?

      He’s not F1 material. Not when you considered all the young guys waiting for a chance.

      1. Gotta feel for Frijns

  5. There are certainly worse drivers they can put in that seat. Better him than Sirotkin, Sutil or Gutierrez. I’m curious to see what he can do in a car which isn’t slower than a tractor.

    1. Why better than Sirotkin? Their feeder results (GP2 vs FR3.5) are pretty similar

      1. Ericsson is much faster.
        He won the British F-BMW Championship in his first year racing with cars,
        He won the Japanese F3 Championship in 2009, and he was one of the fastest guys in GP2 2013, but had a lot of bad luck.
        Sirotkin’s best result is a 5th place in F-Renault this year.

    2. I think you’re wrong thinking this guy is faster than Sirotkin, and he surely is slower than SUT or GUT.

  6. At least a pay-driver who´s sponsors pay on schedule. That seems worth something these times. However, I still believe points or no points mean a bigger difference in revenue than what any pay-driver pays, and they´re close enough to score with a good drive from a good driver.

    1. Oh, and btw: Sutil already has a Sauber-contract for 2015, as he had signed for two years. Sauber would need to buy out of that contract if they were to not race him, which I´m pretty sure won´t be happening. So Gutierrez is out, who allegedly is months behind in payments and also only had a one-year contract to begin with.

      1. @crammond Each WCC place is only a $4m jump up, so you can bring $12m and guarantee 3 WCC places at the back of the top ten. If Gutierrez is behind, then VDG should get some cash in and drive the last few races. Ericsson… was outpaced by Kobayashi, who was too slow for Sauber. But, once he is comfortable, then he should be better than Gutierrez, or no worse at least.

        Sutil has been lambasted, but somehow got the Sauber into Q3! He was lucky some others didn’t deliver their full potential, but still, that could be a nice final reminder that he had the pace on his day.

  7. As a Swede, or someone who’s from Sweden.. I do not think that Ericsson is worthy of a seat in Formula 1.

    1. He is though.

      1. Actually his money is.

  8. Clearly it’s difficult for Sauber to survive in F1 without hiring waste of space drivers like Ericsson, but they really need a decent driver if they’re going to make any impact.

  9. I’d take a guess and say they’re getting rid of Sutil and keeping Gutiérrez for next year. Two pay drivers bringing in a steady income is probably what they’d need for next year, and if they manage to improve next year’s car they might get a couple of points to get them through.

    1. Now you mention points. With the FIA points tax, the more you score the more your entry. But the 5 Bernie favourites should be paying more per point. They get ridiculous sums yet pay the same rate as the smaller teams.

  10. There’s too many people bullying Ericsson on here. Good on the lad for getting himself a seat for next season, he’s been pretty decent in the last few races for Caterham.

    1. None of the comments I’ve read here so far constitute ‘bullying’, merely expressions that people don’t think he’s good enough. His form against Kobayashi is pretty poor, and Kobayashi is not a great benchmark as F1 drivers go.

      1. It’s one thing to say he’s not good enough, it’s another to refer to him as a ‘waste of space’.

  11. My bet is that Giedo Van Der Garde will get the 2nd seat.

  12. And second will be GvdG. Money talks…

  13. I’m quite happy to see this move. I want Sauber to continue so his sponsorship is most welcome, and I’d like to see what he can do in a better car. He has seemingly upped his game in recent races as well, and finished 11th in Monaco. I think there are worse drivers they could have picked.

    It will be interesting to see who gets the other seat. It’ll be between Sutil, Gutierrez and van der Garde. I don’t think the Mexican Grand Prix returning will sway the decision on Gutierrez. I’d be interested to see how much money Slim is pumping into Sauber now that Perez has brought his sponsors to Force India. I couldn’t really predict about the other two. Van der Garde obviously brings McGregor money. Sutil may be kept on for his experience and minor sponsorship.

    1. I forgot to add, I would rule Gutierrez out getting the other seat.

  14. I think they wanted to go with Bianchi for 2015, Marcus is a plan B.

  15. Maybe he drags Koba back with him to Sauber again too.

  16. Sutil is quite right to complain because this year car is pure rubbish I think he deserves to stay, but if he goes, then cheers, Sauber can bring out the crystal glasses once more!

  17. Oh, dear…

  18. I do not mind if he is a pay driver. I want Sauber to stay in Formula 1!
    Bernie & partners go home!!!

  19. Might make sense from a business point of view, but what happened to the Sauber that managed to get drivers with talent and backing? It’d be pretty bad if Perez was the last product of Sauber’s keen eye for talent..

    1. Perez was about the only one that had both. They signed Wendlinger and Frentzen through their pre-F1 ties to Mercedes, Heideld, Raikkonen and Massa were signed when the team had Red Bull and Petronas as prominent sponsors, Kubica and Vettel were products of the BMW Sauber era, and for all of those young talents that panned out or at least had the potential to do so, there was a Norberto Fontana or a Jean-Christophe Boullion or…well, an Esteban Gutierrez.

  20. good. swiss news website has already said this yesterday, today they said van der garde will be 2nd driver!

    from a very uninspiring bad line-up they went to a refreshing, new line-up. i think this will prove to be a good move.

    btw @keithcollantine ericssons driver number is #9 (it says #10 on the 2015 teams and drivers)

  21. Didn’t saw that coming… I have to say, I wouldn’t sign Ericsson. But, I’m just an ordinary f1 fan. So, let’s see what the future brings.

  22. Exciting for me as a swede. First half of the season Marcus didn´t impress, except in Monaco, but since Spa his been fast and consistent. Didn´t you guys watch those races? Three very important races for his career. Brake balance changes the main reason for his upturn in form.

  23. When was the last time we had a driver this BAD in Formula 1? Even Lotterer, coming from WEC and having never driven under the rain beat him…

    1. Ericsson did not post a fast lap in Belgium, since his car had technical problems. THEREFORE he was 2 secs slower den Lotterer. Do you really think he could be that slow and drive in F1?

  24. This is akin to a football team parking the bus for 90 minutes and playing for a tie to get a point in the standings. Which is what most clubs tend to do when they can’t afford to purchase the players they need to go for the three points every match.

    Ericsson has his performance deficiencies, but Sauber need a driver who at least has some upside and more importantly, a steady sponsorship. And it’s not as if they’d done what Footwork did in 1995 and replaced a departing Christian Fittipaldi with Taki Inoue.

  25. Why would he even sign for Sauber for 2015 when they are at risk of folding and they haven’t even scored a point this year which embarrassing as they are in 10th spot behind Marussia. I think Bernie Ecclestone is right on the money that Sauber, Force India, Marussia and Catherham folding. That tweet from Adam Parr is making so much sense now

  26. Wow! What an exciting line-up it’ll be next year!

    Sutil-Ericcson, Gutierrez-Ericcson, Sirotkin-Ericcson, Van der Garde-Ericcson?

    Two years back those guys had Kobayashi-Perez … It’s a shame really.

  27. Money talks, Talent vanishes.

  28. My moment of the season:

    //barrel roll//
    “Wow. Whad was dat?”

    I laughed for hours. Get Esteban in the booth if he can’t get a seat!

  29. Danny Olmstead
    6th November 2014, 18:08

    It’s a bummer seeing the massive financial disparity between the top 5 teams and remaining field. MBZ signing Nico for 55MM and Sauber taking on a clearly slow driver for pay. I’m a U.S. dirt track racer and it’s an embarrassment to bring money to a team (I recogniz a sprint car budget is likely less than an F1 paint job). I don’t have any idea how the $ is diveyed up in F1 but I hope something changes. I miss the big fields of the late 80’s, and there’s a lot of road racing talent on the sidelines in EUROPE that deserve seats but don’t have the bucks. My post is simply a rant; I love F1 and the you Brits are fine engineers. I just hope for some change.

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