Marcus Ericsson may no longer be a Formula 1 driver but new Ferrari signing Charles Leclerc should thank his former team-mate for helping him in 2018, says Frederic Vasseur.
Last season, in what would turn out to be Ericsson’s last in Formula 1, the Swede partnered rookie driver Leclerc at Sauber.
It was the latter who bagged all the plaudits as he scored 39 of Sauber’s 48 points with a best result of P6 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
But while Ericsson failed to match his team-mate in the points tally, team boss Vasseur reckons Leclerc may not have achieved what he did were it not for Ericsson pushing him hard.
“I think (Leclerc) did a very good job, and he did a very good job also because Marcus was improving,” Vasseur told RACER.
“If you consider Marcus compared to (2017) I think he did a huge step forward.
“When he first hit the track in Melbourne he was six kilos lighter than the previous year and from the beginning he made a step forward from then.
“Even in the last part of the season, he was consistently at the same lap time as Charles.
“He was in front of Charles in Sao Paulo, just behind in Austin, and it was very helpful for Charles as well to have someone as a reference like Marcus.
“Marcus also has the advantage of very good technical feedback and he helped us a lot at some stages of the season to take decisions on the technical side.
“When you come to F1 from F2 it’s not easy to have a reference on the performance.”