Squabbling Saubers Cause Monumental Monaco Mess

There’s no love loss between Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericcsson over at Sauber, and their relationship boiled over at the Monaco GP. The pair were fighting each other over 14th place. 14th place! Hardly a position worth crashing over, is it? Well, that’s exactly what happened.

Source: David Acosta Allely/Shutterstock
Source: David Acosta Allely/Shutterstock

Marcus Ericsson was behind Felipe Nasr when , yet again, the whiney, sulking radio transmissions started. It’s a concern that team orders cause drivers, especially the Sauber duo, to file complaints to their engineers instead of going for it. Shouldn’t they be using every neurotransmitter in their helmets to focus on racing?


Here’s the actual transcript of the radio war between the Sauber drivers and the pit-wall:

“Just swap position, Felipe, swap position,”

“For what reason? Give me a reason why.”

“He’s much quicker at the moment. If Marcus were not pull away, you will gain the position back.”

“OK Felipe, this is from the top: we need to swap position now, please. Let’s do it, let’s get it done. Turn 1.”


When Felipe Nasr didn’t “get it done” (or undone…), the inevitable happened and Marcus Ericcsson threw a reckless dive up the inside into a gap that simply wasn’t there. The collision resulted in Marcus Ericcsson retiring and Felipe Nasr limping into the pits a lap later with a smoking sidepod. He retired from the race too. That’s a double retirement for a single moment of stupidity.

Both drivers have disliked each other since their GP2 days. Was it wise for the team to infer any favouritism in a battle for 14th? It’s great that team principal Monisha Kaltenborn came out afterwards and poured the blame onto her drivers for not following team orders. But had there been no team orders, or a response like, “shut up and race Marcus”, maybe he’d have got past on a more suitable part of the track, instead of seeing the red mist.


By Ryan Ashenhurst

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