Ericsson to stay at Sauber in 2019 - as third driver

Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber F1 Team celebrates his birthday.
© XPB 

Marcus Ericsson will be staying with the Sauber team in a new role in 2019, despite losing his race seat to Antonio Giovinazzi.

The Swiss squad confirmed on Tuesday that the young Italian would be Kimi Raikkonen's team mate next year.

That leaves Ericsson out of luck and off the grid after the end of the current season. However, the Swede says he will be staying at Hinwil albeit in a markedly different capacity.

He will be the team's official third driver in 2019, and will also take on a 'brand ambassador' role for Sauber and its title sponsor Alfa Romeo.

It brings to an end a five year residency on the Formula 1 grid for the 28-year-old driver, who made his debut in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix with Caterham.

The following season he switched to Sauber, where he managed a career-best result of eighth place in his maiden outing for the team at Melbourne. In total he's scored 15 points over the course of 91 races.

"I am thankful for the past five years of my career which I have spent racing in Formula 1,” said Ericsson in an official press release issued by the team.

“I am proud to have represented Sauber for four of those years, and for having raced for such an iconic brand as Alfa Romeo this season.

“I would have loved to continue on this path," he admitted. "But having a driver like Kimi Raikkonen on board is a great opportunity for the whole team.

"Going forward, I will continue contributing to the development of the team as I have always done, with full dedication and all of my support."

He added further comments about the decision in a post on social media network Instagram.

"Regarding today's news, I'm proud of what I've achieved in these last years in F1," he reiterated.

"I've always given my 100 per cent, putting my heart and soul into it. I will continue in the same spirit, aiming to finish the season on a high!

"And I'm happy to continue working with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team next year in a new role," he posted. "I'm also excited about exploring other racing options.

"Today is not the end of the story, it's just the start of a new chapter. Thanks for all your support."

Sauber's CEO and team principal Frédéric Vasseur was pleased to confirm that Ericsson would be remaining with the team in the new role.

"We would like to thank Marcus for his dedication to the team and for the great job he has done over the past four years," he said.

"We are very pleased that he will continue being part of the Sauber family in the future.

"In 2018, the team has made important progress and Marcus’ work has been essential to our development," Vasseur added. "He has a long history with our team, and we look forward to our new shared chapter.

"Together, we will strive to continue moving in this positive direction.”

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