Saturday, 10 february 2018, 04:59 , by Matthew Scott
Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson believes that the performance of the team will improve in 2018 from 2017 due to the fact that they are now competing with the latest-specification of Ferrari engines, but believes there will be an 'unpredictable' element to their campaign.
Last year, Sauber only notched up five points over the course of the campaign and finished tenth in the constructor rankings. A good portion of the blame for the poor performance has been attributed to their older-spec Ferrari engines.
However, 2018 seems like a more promising season as they now have the latest technology from the Prancing Horse, as well as a new commercial partnership with Alfa Romeo. Ericsson has revealed that the atmosphere in the Sauber camp is a positive one.
"I think it's a big leap to have the same engine as the Cavallino," Ericsson told Motorsport this week.
"The team have a lot of confidence and a desire to do well. I got to see the car in a computer rendering and it seems very beautiful – it should be an important step forward.
"Alfa Romeo's partnership means the return of a historic brand to F1. It is one more reason to believe that Ferrari will give us maximum support to grow. I'm confident."
Ericsson went on to claim that he views Sauber's main competitors for the season as Toro Rosso and Haas, and thinks the competition will be 'unpredictable' on the track.
"We're up against Haas and Toro Rosso," he continued. "I think next season will be very unpredictable in some races.
"It could go very well and at points we could also challenge Renault and Force India. But there will be other races where there will be problems and we will be further down.
"The goal is simply to get into the group of teams that are in the midfield – but it is clear that there will be a very open battle grand prix after grand prix.
"I want to be in the best shape possible to find the satisfaction that was missing in 2017."