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Ericsson sees 'unpredictable' but competitive season ahead for Sauber

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Marcus Ericsson believes Sauber's 2018 charger will significantly improve the Swiss outfit's level of performance, although the pecking order of F1's mid-field battle is unpredictable.

After a lackluster 2017 season, Sauber enjoys a new commercial partnership with legendary brand Alfa Romeo this year, but its main benefit will likely be the latest-spec Ferrari engine which will power the team in 2018.

Based on what he's seen so far during his visits to Hinwil, Ericsson believes he has many reasons to feel confident on the eve of his fifth F1 campaign.

"I think it's a big leap to have the same engine as the Cavallino," Ericsson told Motorsport this week.

"The team have a lot of confidence and a desire to do well. I got to see the car in a computer rendering and it seems very beautiful – it should be an important step forward.

"Alfa Romeo's partnership means the return of a historic brand to F1. It is one more reason to believe that Ferrari will give us maximum support to grow. I'm confident."

There's no doubt the battle will rage once again in the mid-field, and while predicting the order is tough, Ericsson sees his team challenging Haas and Toro Rosso.

"We're up against Haas and Toro Rosso," he said. "I think next season will be very unpredictable in some races.

"It could go very well and at points we could also challenge Renault and Force India. But there will be other races where there will be problems and we will be further down.

"The goal is simply to get into the group of teams that are in the midfield – but it is clear that there will be a very open battle grand prix after grand prix.

"I want to be in the best shape possible to find the satisfaction that was missing in 2017."

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