Marcus Ericsson says the Alfa Romeo Sauber partnership deal for the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship provides him with “a big chance” in the sport as he aims to help the Swiss squad climb the team ranks.

After a difficult 2017 with year-old Ferrari engines and finishing bottom of the F1 World Constructors’ Championship, Sauber is targeting a fresh start having secured a technical and title sponsor deal with Alfa Romeo.

Ericsson’s place at the Swiss team came under threat when reports emerged that Ferrari, sister brand to Alfa Romeo in the FCA Group, were aiming to put both its junior drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc into the team for 2018. Ericsson has been able to secure a deal with a new look Alfa Romeo Sauber squad to retain his place alongside F1 rookie Leclerc and is preparing for his fifth consecutive season in the sport having made his F1 debut with Caterham in 2014.

Having endured two seasons without achieving a points finish, Ericsson’s last top ten result came at the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, the Swedish driver is eager to use 2018 as his opportunity to produce a competitive F1 campaign with Sauber set to use the latest specification Ferrari engine for the upcoming season.

“2017 was a difficult year but we worked hard as a team and made some good progress,” Ericsson said. “I am happy about the way we improved in the end of the season after having had a difficult first part.

“I have developed a lot as a driver and have a good level of experience that can be beneficial to the whole team.

“The partnership with Alfa Romeo is a great opportunity for all of us. For me, it feels like a big chance after having worked hard for many years. It will be my fourth season with the team, and I look forward to being back on track with everyone.”

The new look Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team is expected to use a red and white colour scheme for 2018 as part of its tie-up with the Italian marque with its official launch date to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

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