Marcus Ericsson admits he was initially “questioning quite a lot” Sauber’s decision to run the latest spec of the 2016 Ferrari power units during the 2017 Formula One season.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn confirmed the news to F1i's Chris Medland last weekend at Suzuka, explaining that the Swiss outfit wants to focus its resources on chassis development and continue to race an engine it is familiar with.
“When I first heard about it I was questioning it quite a lot,” said Ericsson, who has been tipped to stay at Sauber next year. “I was like: ‘Is that really the right way to go?’
“But then I spoke to both guys here at the track and guys from the factory and the reasoning with the really big change to the regulations and cars next year, and with us being quite a small team the way we can focus a lot more on really developing the car for next year.
“Knowing what package we will have, what power unit we will have and the cooling and all that stuff, it makes sense to me. I trust the guys because they have all been like: ‘This is the way to go’. It’s not been a money decision or anything, they think it’s the best way for the team to go next year.”
Ericsson’s concerns were rooted in Toro Rosso’s current situation with its 2015-spec power units. After a decent first half to the season this year, Red Bull’s junior team has slipped down the pecking order as it struggles to keep pace with its underdeveloped and underpowered engine.
However, the Swede remains confident Sauber’s fresh investment can be better utilised now that the Hinwill-based team knows what it has on the engine front.
“You look at Toro Rosso and how much they’ve lost, but all the guys I speak to back in the factory and here are convinced that it’s the right way to go as a team.
“The chassis has not been where it should be in this team, and to go into the winter not knowing about the package is just going to hurt even more.
“Now, the resources are here in the team to really push on the chassis side and they feel that to really do that they need to know early enough what we’re going to have in the back. If we know what we have in the back they can really push hard on the chassis side. So I understand it and it makes sense to me now.”
Scene at the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix
Japanese Grand Prix - Quotes of the week
DRIVER RATINGS: Japanese Grand Prix
Breakfast with ... Tetsuo Tsugawa
FEATURE: Silbermann says... Snapchat and soap in Suzuka
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter