Ericsson and Nasr keen to bounce back for Sauber in China

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Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr are looking to bounce back from a disappointing outing in Malaysia at next weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix by returning to the top ten.

Following a miserable 2014 campaign that went down as the worst in Sauber’s history, the team made an impressive start to the new season as both of its drivers scored points at the Australian Grand Prix.

However, Ericsson and Nasr came back down to earth with a bump in Malaysia as neither finished inside the top ten due to incidents during the race.

Ericsson had recorded his best qualifying in F1 to date, lining up ninth on the grid, but brought his race to an early end by spinning into the gravel when fighting for seventh place.

The Swede believes that the similarities between the tracks in Malaysia and China should aid Sauber as he bids to return to the points.

“The track in Shanghai is a circuit I know from last year, but it is not an easy one with a mixture of high-speed and low-speed corners,” Ericsson said. “Before some corners hard braking is required, so braking stability for the car is important. I believe the set-up of the car will be similar to the one we had in Malaysia, as the layout of the track has some related characteristics.

“The weather conditions will be different, as it is not as hot as in Sepang, which will also have an influence on the tire management.

“I have a good feeling traveling to China, because we have a competitive car. We are looking forward to getting to Shanghai to continue improving as well as scoring points again.”

Nasr also endured a difficult race in Malaysia, with an incident at the first corner dropping him back through the field. He eventually finished the race in 12th place.

Nevertheless, the Brazilian is looking forward to racing on a track that he has only practiced on before with Williams.

“Last year during the Chinese Grand Prix I had my first FP1 session with Williams,” Nasr said. “I have never raced on this circuit, but it is good that I have already got to know it.

“I believe this could be positive for us as we have a strong top speed. As the track has some low-speed corners, traction can be important as well. I am looking forward to a positive race weekend and to scoring points again.”

Malcolm Stewart sidelined from Supercross by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.