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Sauber enjoys breakthrough thanks to tyre management

© XPB 

Sauber has improved its form lately thanks to a different approach in how it manages its tyres, says Marcus Ericsson.

The Swede was on the verge of achieving his best race of the season in Mexico last Sunday, enjoying a great start and putting himself in the points for over twenty five laps until a VSC delivered a set-back to the Sauber driver.

Ericsson eventually retired following a mechanical issue, but his performance did not go unnoticed.

"The start of the race was really good and the first stint was really competitive," he said.

"To run inside the top 10 for the first 30 laps was really good. We timed the pitstop really well. Then the virtual safety car came at the worst possible moment for us and ruins our race.

"The tyres this year are more conservative, less peaky and do not degrade so much, but there is still a small window where they work the best and give the best available grip," he told Motorsport.com.

"My feeling is we've been wrong there for most of the year, we haven't been working on it in the best place.

"Now, we have found some stuff the last couple of weekends which has helped us a lot to improve that and it's all about the temperature and controlling the temperature of the tyres.

"We have worked the tyres a bit differently, a bit different temperature windows and that seems to be helping us quite a lot. It's been a big breakthrough for us."

Sauber's season hasn't been easy, following internal changes at the Swiss outfit over the summer as well as it enduring the relative weakness of its year-old Ferrari engine.

The team, and Ericsson in particular, has been improving lately, thanks partly to reducing the weight of its C36.

"From my side, we've got 7kg out of the car since Malaysia," he said.

"That's quite a lot of laptime every lap for me, two or three tenths depending on track.

"Also on the engine side, the Ferrari guys have managed to get a bit more out of it. We still have the same engine but they've been able to squeeze a bit more out of it."

Sauber has yet to announce its driver line-up for 2018, with the latest reports from Switzerland suggesting that Ericsson is likely to retain his seat at Hinwil, to the detriment of Pascal Wehrlein.

Sauber most likely choice as the Swede's team mate is Ferrari junior and 2017 F2 champion Charles Leclerc.

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