Ericsson keeping lights on at Sauber

More complicated times at Sauber as the team are still struggling to cover payroll for March and some were concerned over their presence in China for the grand prix. If you listen to our podcasts, you’ll know that Paul Charsley gives me a hard time for being a fan of Marcus Ericsson but I like the young man and feel he’s come a long way in his driver development. He has pace, he can be aggressive and isn’t Maldonadoing every car he gets in.

If you’re a Sauber fan, then there is another reason to like Marcus as it seems if it weren’t for him, payroll may not be made at all. According to AUTOSPORT, the Swede’s sponsor is making advanced payments to keep the team floating and one presumes that team boss Monisha Kaltenborn is also wooing Felipe Nasr’s Brazilian sponsors but it seems that Marcus and his backers have come through. Asked if they would be in China, Marcus said:

“Absolutely, 100%”

“It’s always tight on money, we’re a small team so we cannot develop like the big guys.

“I’m here to do my job and maximise my material every time I’m out on track and that’s all I can do as a driver.

“Of course I push the guys and say what I want from the car, but at the end of the day I just need to do my job on track.”

There is a bit of a downer here when a driver says, hey, I’m just here doing my job and hopefully we can turn things around. That’s not a good sign. Marcus and Felipe have a tough situation and Sauber even a tougher one. I’ve always been partial to Peter Sauber and his racing efforts but I wonder if this isn’t a time to not only seek new sponsors but potential buyers as well.

It’s just a bit mind-numbing that teams are heavily reliant on the F1 prize money and not able to find title sponsors these days. Look at McLaren or Sauber or Manor or even Force India. Struggling to find multiple sponsors and a title sponsor is really a sad state of affairs.

When the press ring up JMI’s Zak Brown and ask him about the health of F1 sponsorship, he is very diplomatic with his comments and I can recall reading his comments just in the last few years about F1 sponsorship being “on fire”. I have a lot of time for Zak, he’s an intensely sharp individual. If he feels the market is there, then why are the teams simply relying on FOM prize money and not going after new sponsor deals like they’re killing snakes? Then again, if they are, then we have a parallax on the entire sponsorship opportunities within F1.