Marcus Ericsson has what it takes to be a Formula 1 race winner, he just needs the right car, says Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.
Although Ericsson lost out to his Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr two years running, it is the Swede who will stay on for a third season at Sauber.
To date Ericsson has managed just nine points in Formula 1, all scored during his 2015 campaign with Sauber.
Last year he failed to get off the mark as the team’s financial situation impacted their on-track form.
However, given the right car, team boss Kaltenborn reckons in Ericsson she has a driver capable of winning grands prix.
“You have to have that determination, have that opportunity and be at the right time at the right place and I don’t see why he can’t do that,” she told Autosport.
She added: “He has taken a very big step up, you see it in his whole appearance as well.
“He gives very valuable input to the team. He can definitely improve, there’s a lot to do.
“He knows his strengths and he will learn more, and with his own experience he will find his own limits and how he can work on them.”
Kaltenborn has praised her driver’s mental strength, revealing that Ericsson stepped up in the final races of 2016 despite the lack of points.
“That’s very important because it’s not easy for young drivers out there, when people have their prejudices with them, for them to even handle certain situations,” she said.
“He’s found his way and he’s learned how to focus much more on things that are really important to him.
“In the last races he really took a step up.
“There is a lot of potential to come from him.”