Sauber F1 Team ended a difficult week in Australia with an outstanding double-points score as Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson finished fifth and eighth respectively in Melbourne on Sunday.
There had been some uncertainty surrounding the team’s entry into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix due to an ongoing court case with former reserve driver Giedo van der Garde.
On Saturday, a ceasefire was called by the Dutchman in the best interests of the sport, allowing Sauber to focus on its participation in the race on Sunday.
After making a good start in the race, Nasr produced a superb display for Sauber to finish fifth in his very first Formula 1 grand prix ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
“I am very happy with fifth position in my first ever Formula 1 race,” Nasr said. “It is such a big relief for the team and myself that we are able to score points, and I am very pleased about this achievement.
“It was a tough race. Right after the start it was quite messy in turn one, as another driver hit my wheel. I thought the car was damaged a bit, but after a few laps I noticed everything was fine.
“After that, the race went according to plan. There was pressure from behind during the whole race, which was not easy. That was an emotional race for me and everyone in the team.”
Nasr’s result was backed up by Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson, who scored his first ever points in F1 by finishing eighth in Melbourne.
“First of all, the team has done a great job over the winter,” Ericsson said. “It is amazing for everyone in the team here in Melbourne and also back home in the factory to get this result in the first race weekend of the 2015 season.
“We have seen good progress during pre-season testing, and with this achievement I am really happy for everyone. For me as a driver, I have scored my first points in Formula 1, which is a big goal achieved. Now, we can build on this for the next race.”
This double score will come as a huge relief to Sauber, given that the team failed to pick up a single point in the entirety of last season, which went down as its worst in F1.
2015 appears to hold better on-track prospects, and once the legal wranglings with van der Garde are resolved, Sauber can look to push on and continue to improve throughout the season.