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Ericsson wants ‘strong’ Sauber team-mate in 2017

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Marcus Ericsson says it would be important for him to team up with “someone strong” at Sauber in 2017, so the pair can push each other and spur the Swiss outfit forward.

Next year will see the Swede return for a third consecutive Formula One campaign at Sauber, whose new owners Longbow Finance have been linked to Ericsson’s backers.

The second Sauber seat is one of the four drives yet to be allocated, along with the two Manor spots and Nico Rosberg’s vacant position at Mercedes.

While Ericsson’s current team-mate Felipe Nasr remains in the frame to return at Hinwill in 2017, other candidates include Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein and Haas refugee Esteban Gutierrez.

“What happens next year I don't know, if Felipe stays I'd be happy, if someone else comes in I wouldn't mind that either,” Ericsson said.

“The important thing is to have someone strong; you know you can push each other, and also the way you develop the team forward.”

Ericsson feels he has generally had the edge over Nasr since the two have been partnered at Sauber, but the 26-year-old rues the fact that he does not have the points tally to show for it.

“For me already in the second half of 2015 I was the stronger of the two of us, and then I've continued that this year,” added Ericsson, whose season-best result was his recovery to P11 at the Mexican Grand Prix.

“We've been together for two years, he beat me clearly in points in two years but I feel I've been the stronger driver for one and a half of those two years.

“That's the way it is in Formula 1 with the way the points are awarded. Especially this year I have had some really, really good performances, but when you finish 12th, 11th or 13th people don't notice as you score zero points and you're one lap down or whatever.”

Nasr, whose backer Banco do Brasil will stop sponsoring Sauber at the end of 2016, salvaged the Swiss team’s 2016 campaign with his drive to ninth place at a chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix.

However, according to statistics provided by the official F1 website, Ericsson outqualifed his team-mate 13-7 over the course of the season, while also outracing him 9-4 in the 13 grands prix both drivers finish.

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