Sauber confirms Ericsson and Nasr as next year's drivers

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian Felipe Nasr can build on a promising first season together with both drivers handed new contracts with Sauber for next year.

Nasr impressed from the outset in his first Formula One campaign, securing fifth place at the Australian Grand Prix in his first race.

''The team has put a lot of trust in me. We had some great results and we can do something promising for 2016,'' Nasr said. ''We're trying to develop the car as much as we can. By having this confirmation early on, I think we can start thinking now about 2016 and I think there are more positive things coming.''

It also ends speculation that the 22-year-old Nasr, formerly a reserve driver for Williams, was being lined up as a possible replacement for Valtteri Bottas at Williams next year - in the advent that Bottas might get the coveted Ferrari seat if veteran Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen's contract is not extended.

Nasr has 16 points in this year's championship and is 11th in the drivers' standings, scoring points in three of nine races so far. Ericsson has five and is 16th.

Ericsson is competing in his second F1 season after driving last year for Caterham, which is now defunct.

''I'm very happy that the Sauber F1 Team has put its trust in my potential for another year,'' said the 24-year-old Ericsson. ''I am getting to know everyone within the team more and more, and feel I am being appreciated as a valuable driver.''

The Sauber team's announcement on Thursday comes before the Hungary Grand Prix weekend and ahead of the series' summer break.

''We are pleased about the extension of the contracts with Marcus and Felipe,'' Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. ''This early point in time shows that the drivers and the team are sure they are heading in the right direction... Both have shown solid performances, gained experience and learnt quickly.''

Sauber is seventh in the constructors' championship, with 21 points.

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