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Sauber F1 extends Marcus Ericsson’s contract for 2017 season

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Sauber has confirmed that Marcus Ericsson will remain part of its Formula 1 line-up for the 2017 season after extending the Swedish driver’s contract.

Ericsson, 26, made his F1 debut in 2014 with Caterham before joining Sauber last year, partnering Felipe Nasr.

Ericsson will now remain with Sauber for a third season despite failing to score any points through 2016, amid financial difficulties for the Swiss team earlier in the year prior to its takeover by Longbow Finance.

“The Sauber F1 Team is pleased to announce the extension of the contract with Marcus Ericsson (26),” a short statement from Sauber reads.

“The Swede will go into his third season for the Swiss Team. The 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship will mark the fourth season of his Formula One career.

“The second driver for the Sauber F1 Team will be announced in due course.”

“It is great news that I will be racing for another year for the Sauber F1 Team. I have spent two years with Sauber now, and I really feel at home,” Ericsson said.

“A big thanks to everyone within the team for trusting in me again. From a personal point of view, I have developed a lot as a driver during my time at Sauber. We have had ups and downs, but we always stick together and work as hard as we can.

“Since the new ownership, there has been a positive push in the team, so it will also be exciting to go into this new era. Many motorsport experts are becoming part of Sauber, which is a good sign for the future.

“For 2017 my aim is to build on my performance from the second half of this season, and to continue working hard with the team.

“I cannot wait for the 2017 season, so that we can make our way up to the midfield with the objective to score points on a regular basis.”

With Ericsson’s confirmation, just three seats remain on the F1 grid for 2017: one at Sauber and two at Manor.

F1 Mexican Grand Prix on NBC, NBCSN, App this week

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Lewis Hamilton is poised to wrap his fourth Formula 1 World Championship early at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, as NBC Sports covers the 18th of 20 rounds this season from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Expanded TV coverage comes this weekend on NBC, NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.

All sessions will air live. Both Friday practice sessions are live on NBCSN at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET. Saturday third practice airs live via the NBC Sports App at 11 a.m. ET with a practice replay show at 12:30 p.m. before live qualifying at 2 p.m. ET, those two on NBCSN.

On Sunday, race day, F1 Countdown starts at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC leading to lights out and the race at 3 p.m. ET. Post-race coverage continues on NBC for one hour, from 5 to 6 p.m. ET.

Mercedes AMG Petronas has won both Mexican Grands Prix since the race was reinstated in 2015 after a 23-year hiatus. Nico Rosberg won in 2015 a race after Hamilton had clinched that year’s title, while Hamilton won last year in a 1-2 with Rosberg continuing to close on his first title.

Controversy reined about third place in Mexico last year with all of Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and ultimately Daniel Ricciardo ending in third, Ricciardo getting the podium after post-race penalties were assessed to the other two. Valtteri Bottas is the other active podium finisher in Mexico, having come third in 2015 with Williams.

Vettel enters Mexico 66 points behind Hamilton and can only keep the title alive to Brazil if he gets the gap under 50 points; any top-five finish for Hamilton will ensure the Englishman equals Vettel on four titles. So if Vettel doesn’t finish first or second, he can’t score enough points (either 25 or 18) to get that gap under 50 markers.

Last year’s race featured a bit of a “Noah’s Ark” finishing order with just the top five teams in the championship scoring points at this race, almost in descending order of just two-by-two. It was two Mercedes, then two Red Bulls, then two Ferraris, then Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India before the two Williams, and finally hometown hero Sergio Perez in the second Force India.

Perez is the lone home favorite this race with Esteban Gutierrez not on the grid this season.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 3 (Replay): Saturday, Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.-3:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 2:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Oct. 29, 8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

The next race is the Brazilian Grand Prix, on November 12.