Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 driver Marcus Ericsson had a tough time today in practice ahead of this weekend’s France Grand Prix, crashing out at a high-speed right-hand corner and hitting the tire wall, his car promptly erupting in flames. The driver appears to be okay following the incident, and he is expected to compete in Sunday’s race, but the suddenness with which his car lost its rear-end grip raises questions.
“I turned in like every other lap,” he said some time after the crash. “I wasn’t going any faster or doing anything different. And I just lost the rear end completely. It was one of those strange crashes that you don’t really find a good explanation for.
“We analyzed it a lot afterwards and couldn’t really see anything apart from the wind being quite different on that lap compared with previous ones,” he continued. “On that lap I had a lot less headwind so I had less downforce because of that. If that’s enough to lose a car completely like that – I wouldn’t think so, but it’s the only thing we can find. It’s really strange.”
The Alfa Romeo Sauber C37 car has received a small upgrade to make it more competitive, according to Team Principal Frederic Vasseur, but Ericsson wasn’t the only one to experience difficulty during today’s first practice session; his teammate Charles Leclerc spun twice during practice. The two finished the session thirteenth- and fourteenth-fastest overall, with Ericsson putting in a lap less than a tenth of a second slower than Leclerc’s best.