Sauber F1 drivers discuss what new ownership means for team
Sauber drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson have welcomed the confirmation of the team’s new ownership after the sale to Swiss company Longbow.
However, both concede that their places at the Hinwil team are not yet confirmed for 2017.
“It’s good news for the team, for everybody really,” said Nasr. “It’s been a while that we’ve been trying to find a solution. It at least gives a new perspective for everyone on the short and the long term. So far, all positive.”
Nasr admitted that he harbored concerns about the future in recent months: “There were always rumors. I never knew the whole picture, but I could see the whole team was struggling. For everybody, including myself, mechanics, staff, employees it gives them security, the stability to work with what they have.
“I am sure there is a brighter future to look at it. I’m sure having the resources we can develop the car, we can make the car more competitive. Also looking at the long term it gives us time to think about next year as well, start thinking about the design of the car, how the car is going to be, more people they are looking to hire. As I said, all positive.”
“I think it is great news for the team,” said Ericsson. “It is not secret it has been difficult year for Sauber financially, so we were not able to update car as we want – for the team it is important it happened. What it means for the future, I don’t know, we have to wait and see, but very good news for everyone at Sauber.”
Both drivers insisted that they have other options for 2017.
“Like anyone else, I don’t have a contract for next year,” said Ericsson. “I am looking at Sauber, I like the way it is working, and hopefully with new owner it can improve as a team. But there are other options, so we will see.”
“It’s too early to talk about that, I would say,” said Nasr. “For sure the people who look after me, my manager, I’m sure they’ve been talking to other people. It’s all open right now. I’m happy for Sauber, I’m happy that we can develop things together. I have trust in the team.
“It’s still an option. I have a contract here until the end of the year, and as I said I have faith here. Since last year I’ve seen how much the team has the guns to fight if they have the right resources. I wouldn’t discount any possibility right now.”
Nasr said that the new funding has already allowed the team to introduce updates that have been on hold.
“We’re going to have a new rear wing to evaluate tomorrow,” said the Brazilian. “If it works, it’s beneficial, we’re going to keep it for the weekend. That’s on both cars. As I said before we had all things in plan, let’s say updates planned, but we were missing the green light to have them. Things are now coming.
“It takes a bit of time, we cannot do it all at once. But looking at this season we still have 11 races to go. If we can add performance to the car, every now and then, I’m sure we can feel the difference until the end of the year. Hopefully we will still have enough time to fight for a few points if we can.”