Sauber retains Nasr and Ericsson for 2016 F1 season

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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.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.