Vasseur: Weight hampered Ericsson in 2017

Published on 20 Mar 2018 16:31

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur claims that Marcus Ericsson was at a performance disadvantage throughout the 2017 season as he was overweight. The Swede finished the year as the only full-time driver not to score a point throughout the 20-race calendar.

Out of all the ten teams, the Sauber duo of Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein were the closest matched pair of teammates in terms of qualifying pace come the end of the season, with an average difference of 0.050s swinging in favour of Wehrlein. 

However, Wehrlein lost his seat for the 2018 season, being replaced by Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc. Vasseur admits that the Swiss team will be relying on Ericsson a lot this year due to his experience, but that his races last year were masked due to a weight issue.

"I think if you look at Marcus last year, he improved a lot during the season," Vasseur told RACER. "We also have to be honest as a team that he was overweight. Mid-season he was more-or-less 10 kilos overweight. We were able to close the gap and come back to the limit in the last part of the season.

"In terms of performance he showed a good improvement and he did well compared to Pascal. From a team perspective and a team point of view, he has good experience, a good collaboration with the team and he's fully committed. It's also important for us to have a kind of stability and that experience. We know that Charles did a fantastic job in the junior series so far and he has impressive promise but he also has no experience of F1.

"He will have to discover perhaps 60 percent of the tracks and it was important for us to have a good reference with experience and already a good collaboration with the team. I think the line-up is quite balanced like this and we can expect a good collaboration from them and to get the best from them."

Despite a bit of a struggle at the winter test just over two weeks ago, Ericsson says he is ready to get going in 2018: "We are ready and looking forward to the first Grand Prix. It is always exciting to kick off the season in such a fantastic location, and on a track that is fun to drive. I am looking forward to seeing our new car on track for the full race weekend for the first time.

"Winter testing was useful in terms of gaining a general understanding of the car’s behaviour and potential. Now, we are moving to the next step when we will start to understand where we are in relation to our competitors. I look forward to it all and can’t wait to be back on track in Albert Park."


Fergal Walsh

Replies (16)
US Rindtchamp 20 Mar 2018 17:320
Posts: 271
also lack of talent.
US ajpennypacker 20 Mar 2018 17:420
Posts: 1407
That's nice of Vasseur... bringing up a legitimate reason for a driver to be consistently slower. Almost a good enough excuse to make us forget that Ericsson has not scored points since 2015 when he scored 9, and his teammate Felipe Nasr (a rookie) scored 27. In 2016 Nasr scored 2, Ericsson 0. In 2017 Wehrlein 5, Ericsson 0. And yet... out of all those drivers, Ericsson is the only one still on the grid. That extra weight has been severely hampering him for a few years now I guess...
SE calle.itw 20 Mar 2018 18:320
Posts: 5642
'cept you know, he were to score last year, had Sauber not told him to get let Wehrlein past... Not saying Ericsson is good (#GiveRoseqvistaseat and all that jazz), but he isnt as bad as some think.
US ajpennypacker 20 Mar 2018 18:490
Posts: 1407
To me he seems a bit like Joylon Palmer. Incredibly nice guy you want to see do well, but that on his best day is average, and most of the time is underwhelming. He's on the grid in 2018 so I wish him well and hope he proves me and a lot of people wrong. But if we get more of the same, I really hope they kick him out. There's plenty of talent on the sidelines.
Posts: 82
@ajpennypacker Just look at the stats for 2016. He was a lot quicker than Nasr, but he managed to score points in the rain in Brazil.

Except the extremely lucky race when WEH scored 4 points they have been more or less even. With the weight disadvantage WEH should have been beating ERI in every qualifying and race.

As LeClerc and ERI has the same height and weight it’s gonna be interesting to see who will perform the best over the season.
SE calle.itw 20 Mar 2018 19:480
Posts: 5642
I'd rate him higher than Palmer, but he isnt really F1 material. I think his clock is ticking.
Posts: 27
Lets be frank. If you know your data you would know both WEH and NAS wasn't quicker then ERI. Especially not NAS. And you should also know that points doesn't count in the back of the field. It's about speed on the track, laptimes, how to work with the engineers and so on. NAS got his points in a lucky Australia and a rainy Brasilia when everybody crashed out, WEH got his points by the pitwall during a SC and team order. It doesn't really counts, and all the teams know this. It's taking random points caused by out side factors and by them selves. WEH and NAS are good and respected drivers so why don't admit that ERI is a better driver no matter you like it or not. There are much worse drivers on the grid but they are in a better car. Don't blame the driver over the car he's driving.
Posts: 151
I think he has to bring out all of his talent available in 2018 and really show us how good he is. This year will be his last, if he fails to score or/and is behind leclerc.
US mcbhargav 20 Mar 2018 20:560
Posts: 728
The way i see it, his sponsorship money was more useful to F1 than his talent. The day balance between money and talent breaks, he will be ousted. Same could be applied to Stroll. F1 is capitalistic, in case if anyone forgot about it.
Posts: 27
You really beleve that ERI got more sponsors then everybody else? That's not correct. Every driver on the grid contribute with around E100m one way or another with different sponsors or busines deals. That's the way it works. The one who contribute most are Perez.
Posts: 265
Reading all the replies I will make a point that Liberty may be able to change. I have been a F1 fan for 45 years. Sponsorship is down and has been declining since the loss of Tobaco money. Improve the show and share more of the money equitably and then subpar driver with sponsor money will be less relevant or will need to bring much more money. Until this happens we won't see the best drivers make it to F1 in their prime.
US ajpennypacker 21 Mar 2018 07:130
Posts: 1407
I think that a lot of the initiatives from Liberty are aimed precisely at bringing more money into the sport through sponsorship. If I had my way... I'd bring back the Tobacco sponsorships. I still don't understand why they got rid of those but kept the alcohol. Asinine.
Posts: 401
Isn't tobacco making a return with their smokefree products? Thought I read that Philip Morris is sponsoring Ferrari.
Posts: 151
Marlboro is still sponsoring Ferrari I think, but it shows just the by how the rear wing is being painted (?)
NL mclarenfan1968 21 Mar 2018 12:120
Posts: 1015
... so what he is saying is that he is FAT.
Posts: 82
Exactly as fat as LeClerc then. Same height and weight on those two.

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Name SE Marcus Ericsson
Active As Sauber Driver in Formula 1
Date of birth Sep 2 1990 (28)
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