Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur says that Marcus Ericsson's efforts at the team cannot be underestimated ahead of his final race. Ericsson will step down from a race seat at Sauber following the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, taking on the role of the Hinwil outfit's third driver.
The team confirmed earlier this year that Antonio Giovinazzi would take the second seat for 2019 alongside Kimi Raikkonen, who will move from Ferrari. Ericsson will hold his reserve duties as well as racing full-time in IndyCar with Schmidt Peterson Motorsport next year.
Vasseur, who became team principal at Sauber in 2017, says that Ericsson played a big role in helping the Swiss squad resurge towards the mid-field this year: “I will never forget that he was part of the whole restructuring and as driver he did a very good job,” said Vasseur.
"When I joined he was not in an easy situation with Pascal [Wehrlein]. But he reacted well and he was able to be a bit faster than Pascal in the last races of the season. And again with this season with Charles [Leclerc] it was not easy, but he was committed and he never stopped to push, and it was helpful for the team. He’s a good team player,” Vasseur added.
Ericsson has been outperformed by teammate Leclerc in 2018, but Vasseur says there is no shame in that: “It’s not easy to have a rookie like Charles as a teammate. Marcus pushed like hell over the season, he lost weight and until the end he was pushing.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing