Cape Town - Just as Sauber have found their feet, Marcus Ericsson has
been shown the door in what he has billed as "obviously
The Swede joined Sauber in 2014 and has been with the team
through tough times including a point-less 2016 campaign.
This year, though, having joined forced with Alfa Romeo,
Sauber are very much on the up.
The team has managed 36 points compared to last year's five
and sit eighth in the championship.
More gains are expected next season but Ericsson won't be
racing, only a test driver, with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi leading
"Of course, it was hard to accept," Ericsson told
"I thought I was going to stay but obviously I
understand the reasons as well, with a driver like Kimi becoming available, and
the other seat is obviously taken [by Ferrari].
"To get an opportunity to get a driver like Kimi, it's
impossible to not take that opportunity.
"So I understand that, even though it's obviously
disappointing for me and my career.
"I feel like I've been here, working so hard for the
team in very tough times, and the car has been at the bottom, and people have
been leaving the team, and I've been always putting all effort into trying to
turn it around, staying positive and never blaming the team for anything.
"[I've] just been pushing really hard to try and help
the team to improve and I feel like I've been very much part of that journey
and part of that process.
"And to then not be able to continue that, when the car
is finally getting competitive and the team is finally getting competitive, it
hurts a bit, but that's the sport we're in."
Ericsson is off to IndyCar next season where he will race
for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
"Just the thought of going to a race and knowing that I
can win this weekend, it just gets me so excited, because I've missed that so
much," Ericsson said.
"All my career [before F1], every weekend, it's been
about trying to win, and then for five years you don't even have that thought
in your head. It's not even in your head.
"And now, when I've accepted that F1 is not going to
happen next year, it's something that really gets me excited - that next year I
could actually go to the first race and know that, if I do a a good job, I can