The ninth-place finish for Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 driver Marcus Ericsson at the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend marked the team’s first points in the 2018 season, and suggests that the team may well have a chance of reversing its fortune in the sport. In the 2017 Formula One World Championship, the Ferrari-powered Sauber F1 Team placed dead last in the Constructors’ Championship, with driver Pascal Wehrlein scoring the team’s only points: four at the Spanish Grand Prix, and one at Azerbaijan.
Still under Ferrari power, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team now has factory support from Fiat Chrysler’s sporty Alfa Romeo brand, and Wehrlein has been replaced by Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc. But it wasn’t Leclerc who earned Alfa Romeo F1’s first points of the season last weekend; he passed the checkered flag in twelfth at Bahrain, separated from his teammate by Esteban Ocon in the No. 31 Force India, and Carlos Sainz in the No. 55 Renault.
The honor instead went to Marcus Ericsson, who had been at risk of losing his seat this season. At the Bahrain Grand Prix, he started from 17th on the grid, climbing his way up eight places to break a record losing streak; before Sunday, his last championship points in a Formula 1 race came at the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.
“It’s a great relief because I’ve had some really difficult years the last few years,” the Swedish driver said after last weekend’s race. “I’ve worked really hard and I’ve had some really great performances and races. I’ve been very close [to earning points] but there’s always been something happening – a Safety Car or something – when I’ve been looking to try and score those points.”
Next up on the 2018 Formula One World Championship calendar is the China Grand Prix this Sunday, April 15th. There, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team will have a chance to build on its momentum and pick up some more Constructors’ points.