Sauber driver Ericsson dismisses talk of favoritism in team

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson has dismissed talk of favoritism within Sauber following the unexpected departure of team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

Kaltenborn, who was also Sauber's chief executive officer, left Wednesday by mutual consent. The news came shortly after another team statement denying reports of unfair treatment between the Swedish driver and German teammate Pascal Wehrlein.

''There were a lot of stories in the press about this unfair advantage for one driver. It was upsetting, disrespectful, it's false and untrue,'' Ericsson said Thursday ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. ''For me and Pascal, it's been very clear that's not the case. We've both been given equal equipment.''

Ericsson has yet to score a point after seven races, while Wehrlein has four points after an eighth-place finish at the Spanish GP in May.

''We're not going to go on holiday together, but as teammates goes we've been working really good together so far,'' Ericsson said. ''When we try different things across the cars, we discuss things.''

Sauber's statement said Kaltenborn left ''due to diverging views of the future of the company.'' Her successor has not been announced.

The 46-year-old Kaltenborn joined Sauber in 2000 as head of its legal department and later became chief executive officer.

''We have to trust the owners that they know what they're doing, and that they have a good plan for the future,'' Ericsson said. ''I have a lot to thank Monisha for. She was the one who gave me the chance to come here after my year in Caterham.''

Wehrlein also praised Kaltenborn for standing by him. He missed the first two races of the season after injuring his back in a crash at the Race of Champions in Miami in January, sustaining hairline cracks in vertebrae and compressing some of his intervertebral discs.

''Monisha was very close to me at one of my toughest times in my career so far,'' Wehrlein said. ''I am very thankful for that, and this is something that I will never forget.''

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