Currently sitting 18th in the championship, Marcus Ericsson’s second season in Formula 1 has been a step up from his debut year in 2014, especially since he’s in machinery that allows him to challenge for points on occasion. Despite trailing his team-mate Felipe Nasr by 18 points, Ericsson believes that 2015 has been a successful year.

We caught up with Marcus at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

How has the end of your second season compared with your maiden season with Caterham? You have some points in the bag now.

Yeah exactly it’s a big difference, you know with Caterham it was really tough year always being in the back and we were struggling quite a bit on track and off track with everything that was going on, and also for myself it was really difficult when we were so far off the other guys. It’s difficult to prove what you can do so for me this year it has been a big, big step up in terms of we’re fighting in the midfield you know reaching Q3 and scoring my first points, it’s been a big difference and I think I proved a point to many people as well that I can do a good job and I’m just glad of that as well, yeah it’s definitely been a very different year.

So do you think you have proved your point to all the critics that you deserve to be here, and couldn’t show off your potential racing at the back of the pack?Ericsson

Yeah I think so, like I said its really difficult to show what you can do when you’re in a team that’s quite far back, and I think this year I’ve shown that I can perform on a good level and always want more and you always want to do better, but I think it’s been a decent year for me and the team and we are looking at building that for next year and doing better.

How has the battle been between Felipe [Nasr] this year?

It’s been tough in a good way, I think we have been closely matched where he was a bit stronger at the beginning of the year and I think the second half of the year I’ve been the stronger one, so we have had sort of half a season each. Still all the time we have been closely matched together and sort of pushing together, so it’s been a good time together in the team and I’m sure it’s going to continue like that as well next year.

How has the development of the C34 improved the car for the second half of the year? Has money affected the latter part of the season?

Yeah I think for sure we are limited on resources and what we can bring on the updates, and I think other teams have been able to get more updates and that’s made us lose a bit of momentum compared to some other teams. We knew it was going to be a bit like that and it is what it is, we are quite a small team and we have to maximize what we have.

Given that you know towards the end of the season you were going to fall behind is there anything you can do to prevent loss of time? By setup of the car or get to know it until you can change certain aspects of it?

It’s always important for us to try and maximize what we got, our main update was in Singapore and it put us a bit forward, maybe not as much as we hoped but it was still a step forward and I think we are still trying to explore that a bit and see if we can find some more potential there, but yeah its always important to take opportunities when they present themselves. For us the second half of the year we went a bit behind but we need to try take advantage from other people who are struggling a bit as well.

Last year the both Sauber’s finished a couple positions out of points, what do you think a realistic expectation is for Sunday?

I think looking at how our cars been performing this season, we seem to have been doing better on tracks with longer straights with the power units and also tracks that are quite flat and smooth, so hopefully that will help us be more competitive and make us be in the mix in the midfield. So yeah if we can reach Q2 and be in the middle of Q2 then try and score some points on Sunday you know that’s going to be the aim.

So you have only done testing here before in F1 is that right then? One day last year or two?

Yes I think it was two.Ericsson

How much experience can you take from that and put that into a race spec? Or do you have to look back at GP2?

Exactly, take some of it from last year and look at the data as well, but also I have a lot of references and stuff like that from my GP2 days, I’ve done a lot of laps here in GP2 so it’s a track I know very well. I know how to drive it fast and that’s something I will keep in my mind.

So it’s one of your better tracks, you enjoy racing here?

Yeah I’ve had some strong results here, some podiums and my last ever GP2 race I was on pole until they stripped it away from tracks limits, but yeah usually I have been really strong here.

You’re two points behind [Fernando] Alonso in the championship, does that play on your mind at all? A double world champion and you’re two points behind him – fighting for 17th unfortunately – is that going to be a good achievement if you can beat him?

To be fair I haven’t looked at that, but yeah of course it would be good. The last few races I haven’t really focused on the points, I’m just trying to do as good as possible and if I can pick up some points and can be ahead of him after the race on Sunday it would be great. But yeah it’s not that important you know 17th, 18th or whatever you know, it’s more or less the same but finish the season on a high and move on for next year.

So what comes after this race in Abu Dhabi do you have a bit of time off? When does the work start for 2016?

Yeah December is the only month when you have some time to recharge. I’ll be in Sweden spending some time there but I’ll also go to Switzerland at least once to the team and see how they do with the 2016 car. It’s a bit of a mix, you can relax for a while but after a couple a weeks you want to be getting along with next year. Then in January I will start training really hard and make sure when I get to the first test I’m 100% ready for the season.

Images via Sauber F1 Team

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Josh Kruse

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