Sauber 2017 Preview

Just last year there were question marks if Sauber would even make the end of the season, but there are here with new backing, but challenges remain for the Swiss team.

Sauber have had financial problems for years, born out of the withdrawal of BMW at the end of the 2009 season, which forced them back to running Ferrari engines with limited sponsorship backing.

They had some enjoyable moments, especially with Sergio Perez whose performances got him a drive a McLaren, known for being light on his tyres in an era of high degradation. That is something Sauber have been known for over the years, harnessing young talent for them to rise up to the larger teams. Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen both had their debuts at the team, and picking up fast drivers out of contract such as Kamui Kobayashi or Nick Heidfeld.

The team is still rebuilding though, with finances previously tight it was run almost on a shoestring. Money is now available thanks to the buyout by Longbow Finance, and that has gone into bolstering the technical department, needed with the new 2017 regulations.

While still rebuilding, Sauber is the only team to have decided to take the 2016 Ferrari engine, following a similar path Toro Rosso took last season. With limited resources it could be a struggle, even more so than what Toro Rosso found last year, when they were forced to decrease their downforce levels in order to compete.

With links to the new owners, Marcus Ericsson has been retained for another season. The Swede who first appeared in Formula One with Caterham has found himself at the back of the grid for most of his career, apart from the early part of 2015 where there was a surprise double points finish in Melbourne, despite the political problems going on during that weekend.

He will be joined by Pascal Wehrlein, the Mercedes driver who missed out on both a drive at Force India and Mercedes over the winter. He had an indifferent debut season at Manor – he didn’t outshine Rio Haryanto in the early part of the season as many expected, and was also pressured by Esteban Ocon at the latter end of the year.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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