Sauber retains Nasr and Ericsson for 2016 F1 season


Sauber F1 Team has announced that Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson will be retained for the 2016 Formula 1 season following the extension of their contracts.

Nasr and Ericsson joined Sauber for the 2015 season as part of an all-new line-up at Hinwil, and have scored 21 points in the opening nine races of the year.

In a statement issued on Thursday morning, the team announced that both drivers would be remaining with the team for 2016, defusing one possible saga in F1’s silly season.

“We are pleased about the extension of the contracts with Marcus and Felipe,” team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. “This early point in time shows that the drivers and the team are sure they are heading in the right direction.

“We have full confidence in the talents and skills of Marcus and Felipe. Both have shown solid performances, gained experience and learnt quickly. We enjoy having them in the team and they give it a positive boost.

“Despite their young ages, they work very professionally – on as well as off the track. Marcus and Felipe are already involved in a very dedicated way with the development of next year’s Sauber C35.”

Nasr set a new record for the best debut result for a Brazilian driver in F1 by finishing fifth at the Australian Grand Prix, and has followed that up with points finishes in China and Monaco.

The Brazilian had been linked with a move to Williams for 2016, but was pleased to confirm his plans for next year with Sauber.

“It is great to be driving another season for the Sauber F1 Team,” Nasr said. “The extension to the contract with the Sauber F1 Team is an important step in my career.

“During the first half of the season, in what is my rookie year, I was able to gain a lot of experience from a driving perspective as well as on the personal side. Finishing fifth at my first ever Formula One race in Melbourne in the Australian Grand Prix is so far my career highlight.

“Now I am looking forward to the second half of the season. My objective is to support the team as best I can, and also with regard to the development of the new car.”

After a tricky debut season with Caterham in 2014, Ericsson managed to score his first points in F1 with Sauber at the beginning of the year, and the Swede was quick to thank Sauber for its support.

“I’m very happy that the Sauber F1 Team has put its trust in my potential for another year,” Ericsson said. “Up to now I have some good memories of my first year with the long-standing Swiss team.

“I am getting to know everyone within the team more and more, and feel I am being appreciated as a valuable driver. I feel honoured to be part of the Sauber Motorsport family, and I will continue to do my very best to succeed.”

Despite not being one of the top teams, Sauber had an important role to play in the 2016 driver market. Had Nasr moved to Williams as tipped by the Italian press, or if the team had opted to drop Ericsson, the way would have been clear for Ferrari youngster Raffaele Marciello to make his F1 debut.

Should Williams now move for Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg as a replacement for Valtteri Bottas – thought to be Ferrari-bound – it is possible that Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein will step up as a replacement.

Perhaps most importantly though, by announcing its line-up early, Sauber will avoid a repeat of the contract scandal that blighted its start of the season in Australia.

Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor “It is great for to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”