SILVERSTONE, 5th July 2014 (F1 Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Following qualifying for the British Grand Prix, we had a chat to Marcus Ericsson from Caterham about his qualifying efforts and his rookie season so far.
F1Plus: So Marcus, a tough qualifying?
Marcus Ericsson: Yeah it was obviously very tricky conditions and we didn’t make the most of it which is a shame because there was a chance for us to have a good result.
F1Plus: You had an off up at Becketts…
MC: Yeah, we did the first run on inters, which was alright, but we could see quite clearly that slicks were preferred for the end of the session. So we went in and put on the slicks but I think it was a bit late out on the slicks so when I’d done my out lap and was on my first timed lap it was coming down a little bit more rain, and I carried a little bit too much speed into Maggots and Becketts and lost the car. So that meant I got quite bad flat spots on my tyres and I couldn’t really improve my time after that, and I think the rain picked up a little bit as well. So it’s a shame but when it’s conditions like that you need to have a go at it and charge your maximum and try to get the opportunity to go through to Q2 and I gave it my all and it was bit too much this time, but it is what it is.
F1Plus: On days like today when the rain’s coming and going do you feel you’re purely at the fate of luck or do you look back at things you could have done differently?
MC: No, I think for us we should have pitted a lap earlier and put on the slicks and I think we could have been a bit higher up, but it’s a very difficult call and it’s also a call that the driver needs to make as well. We need to discuss it and have a look through what we could have done better but for sure there was an opportunity there we didn’t really take today, which is a shame. But we keep learning and tomorrow is another day, and we never know what the weather is going to do tomorrow.
F1Plus: In advance of a qualifying session like this when there’s rain around is your thought ‘great’?
MC: Yeah, for us as a small team the mixed weather always presents a chance for a bit of a surprise result. Obviously for us today we had a chance so we were being a bit optimistic but it didn’t play out to our advantage today.
F1Plus: More generally this is now round nine of your debut campaign. How are you finding it so far?
MC: It’s been a tough year obviously, we haven’t had the car we hoped for from the start of the year, we’ve not been as competitive as we were thinking we were going to be and hoping we were going to be, so it’s been a tough year in that sense. But we keep pushing, everyone works really hard and now we have the new management in place as well, which is a bit of a fresh start for the team. Obviously Tony (Fernandes) started the team Caterham, now it’s a bit of a new era in Caterham and I hope we can improve together. I’m looking forward to continue work with these new people.
Personally from my side I’m learning more and more all the time. It’s been a difficult year coming into F1 with all the changes, so it’s been a tough start to the year but I think I’m making improvements all the time and also I have a really good benchmark in my team mate who is a really respected and good driver in Formula One and to be able to compete against him is good for me and today again I was quicker than him in FP3 and in qualifying, which I think is good and that shows I’m making progress.
F1Plus: You mentioned new management, what do you know about what if anything might change? Is there anything that’s been discussed?
MC: No, not really. For me I’ve only been focussing on this race weekend and obviously this news was very late before the race weekend started so it’s difficult to make a change that quickly. I guess we just have to wait and see what happens now in the next couple of weeks to see if there’s anything changing. But I’m looking forward to it, and I think it’s exciting.
F1Plus: As a driver when there’s changes of ownership going on in the background is it easy to keep concentrated on your own job?
MC: I think so because as a driver you’re so focussed on your job of driving as quick as possible and you work with your engineer so for me it’s been working as usual. As I said we’ll see if there’s anything changing in the next couple of weeks. But at the moment it’s just working as usual for me.
F1Plus: In terms of the development of the car we’re reaching that point of the year where a lot of teams have to decide about whether to keep developing this year’s car and to what extent they put resource into next year, do you know where Caterham are in terms of that?
MC: We haven’t had much updates recently but I think what the new owners have said to the press is that they want to keep pushing for this year and keep upgrading the car for this year and keep bringing upgrades and I think that’s a good thing. I think the potential is in the car but we need to bring some updates, get some weight out of the car and I think we can then be more competitive. So if we get some more updates in the next coming races that would be a good thing for sure.
F1Plus: What about your own personal driving, has F1 been as you expected?
MC: Yes and no. It’s been obviously very tough because I’m driving for one of the smallest teams and we don’t have the same resources as the other teams. But Caterham have been taking very good care of me and I’ve learned a lot in this first part of the year, on how you drive, how to work with the team, maximise the tyres and the engine and stuff like that, so it’s been very good for me to do this first part of the year and I feel a stronger driver than I was at the start of the year. But I need to keep working hard and keep improving otherwise the competition is so extremely hard that you need always to take yourself forward.