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Ericsson scores points in Bahrain: first sign of life from Sauber

Ericsson scores points in Bahrain
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N after crossing the finish line in Bahrain was over a big fireworks display along the route. There are four reasons to celebrate. At Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel's victory was celebrated, at Toro Rosso, thanks to Pierre Gasly's fourth place, a big party started and also at the very end of the pit lane, at the small Sauber team, the mechanics were hugging each other. Marcus Ericsson was congratulated by everyone after his drive in 9th place.

The key to the Swede's first championship points after 49 races was an alternative one-stop strategy. “We knew we had to swim against the current if we were to achieve anything. That's why, like last year, we planned with only one stop right from the start, ”said team manager Beat Zehnder, explaining the reason for the success tactic.

Ericsson implements one-stop tactic perfectly

Team manager Beat Zehnder and team principal Frederic Vasseur celebrated the first points of the season for in Bahrain Clean.

In 2017 Pascal Wehrlein narrowly missed the points in 11th place. This year Ericsson finally brought in the fruits. 'We already saw in training that the long-run performance is quite decent compared to the competition,' reveals Zehnder. “We knew that there was something in it if we could cover the distance without damaging the tires. Marcus really did a great job there. He drove exactly according to the specifications. ”

The Swede, who is always a little underestimated in public, is very popular within the team. This is not just because the new Sauber investors are from Sweden. “He's a hard worker. He has once more about thatWinter invested a lot. He lost weight. And he is currently extremely focused, ”Zehnder praised his protégé.

In Bahrain, the 27-year-old showed a faultless performance all weekend. Especially at the beginning of the race, the man from Kumla managed to set good pace on the asphalt despite saving fuel and protecting tires. Ericsson cleverly kept the Pirelli rubbers at the right temperature. Thanks to improved equipment and more intensive training, Sauber did not lose any ground in the pit stop in the middle of the race (lap 23).

Ericsson does not get involved in duels

This is how the dream of began Points to be more specific even before Kimi Räikkönen's failure. “We knew that we couldn't keep Hülkenberg and Alonso. That's why we told Marcus not to fight back. With Vandoorne, too, who only finished shortly before the end, we told him not to risk anything. Ninth place is still better than a lost eighth place, ”reports Zehnder from the radio communication.

Leclerc was less lucky. The Monegasque rookie robbed himself of all chances early on. A brake plate from the starting lap led to strong vibrations. “We brought him in during the VSC phase. He was then able to set very fast lap times, but of course not much is possible with a pit stop on the third lap. He fought well and at least crossed the finish line ahead of both Williams, 'Zehnder praised the twelfth-placed.

Sauber-Wende still needs time

Even if everything does not always go smoothly, is to see a clear upward trend at Sauber. The traditional Swiss racing team is financially back in calm waters. The technology department is slowly recovering. According to Zehnder, the negative consequences of the crisis will probably be felt a little longer. The veteran in the team asks for a little patience.

“We lost a lot of know-how between 2014 and mid-2016 because we did not develop anything or could not implement anything. The engineers had ideas that looked good on the computer, but we couldn't even try them out in the wind tunnel due to lack of money. '

Sauber lost a lot of staff that now has to be laboriously recruited again. “We're still building the team. We want to have over 400 employees. People join us every month, ”reveals Zehnder. Technology director Jörg Zander now has to form his team into a powerful force. “That will take a while. It will not be the case that we suddenly find ourselves at the front of the midfield this year. Our aim is to close the gap to the rest now. Next year things should really move forward. ”

According to Zehnder, the current Sauber C37 is still in the learning phase. “We have changed a lot compared to last year. Alone in the setup work and thatthe correct use of tires still has a lot of potential. We don't know exactly why, but our car tends to perform better with more gasoline than in qualifying. All in all, we still lack drive. But we're much closer to midfield than last year. Three, four tenths faster and we would be in the middle of the crowd with Force India and McLaren. We want to work hard every now and then. ”


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