Felipe Nasr gave his F1 career a definite boost on Sunday by scoring Sauber’s first points of 2016.
Near the end of an almost catastrophic season for the Swiss team, Sauber now appears back on track with tenth place in the championship to add to its recent rescue by investors linked with Marcus Ericsson.
It is believed the difference between tenth and last in the constructors’ standings is nothing short of dozens of millions of dollars, with Manor now back on the bottom of the table.
“This is great for the team and I’ll make sure I ask for my bonus,” Nasr joked to Brazil’s Globo after the rain-affected Brazilian grand prix.
“I’m relieved to score some points, which shows my work, how much I fight and that I want and am capable of continuing in formula one next year,” he added.
Nasr, 24, is struggling to hang onto his Sauber seat for 2017, with sponsor Banco do Brasil flagging amid the country’s economic recession.
So when asked if Sunday’s result helps, Nasr replied: “Definitely it will help.
“The result will give motivation to the team and all those involved in the work on the car for 2017. I never lost confidence in the team,” he said.
“After the race I talked with Monisha (Kaltenborn) and she was very pleased. More than anyone, she knows the difficulties we have faced this season.”
Nasr said the result is also a reply to critics who have written him off.
“People judge too quickly, so when the chance appears, you need to take it,” he said.
However, it appears that Nasr has some high-powered competition for the Sauber seat, including the Mercedes-financed Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein.
But former Sauber driver and Haas refugee Esteban Gutierrez is also in the frame, after he was spotted meeting in the Sauber hospitality area with Kaltenborn in Brazil.
Meanwhile, the Swiss newspaper Blick says Nasr could switch to Manor, with Gutierrez and also former team driver Rio Haryanto also on the shortlist.