Marcus Ericsson believes that Sauber has outperformed all expectations he had upon joining for the 2015 Formula 1 season.
Ericsson joined the Swiss team following one year at the back of the grid with Caterham, and scored his first F1 points at the Australian Grand Prix in March.
After failing to score in 2014, Sauber has enjoyed a more successful campaign this season to sit ninth in the constructors’ championship with 36 points to its name.
Speaking to the official F1 website, Ericsson admitted that he was unsure where Sauber would be in the pecking order in 2015 upon joining, but has been pleasantly surprised.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Ericsson said.
“Sauber is a team with a great history but also Sauber had a very difficult year last year so when I joined it was absolutely not clear what it would be and were we would start from.
“To be honest, it outperformed my expectations. We have been points candidates in almost every race.”
As well as being more successful on-track, Sauber has found stability off it after a turbulent driver saga that marred the start of the new season.
Having originally planned to partner Giedo van der Garde with Jules Bianchi before the latter’s accident in Japan last year, the team signed Ericsson alongside GP2 graduate Felipe Nasr for 2015.
Van der Garde had a standing contract with the team for 2015 still, prompting the Dutchman to launch legal action against the Swiss team ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in March.
An out-of-court settlement was eventually reached, but the affair did raise concerns about Sauber’s stability and future driver options.
However, the team was one of the first to confirm its line-up for 2016, retaining both Ericsson and Nasr in a move that the Swede thinks will only reap benefits.
“I think it will be better as it will give stability to the team,” Ericsson said. “We know now the ins and outs, we know the working procedure, and we know the mentality.
“We are both very involved in next year’s car, speaking with the engineers about what we want from the car.”