Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson believes he is ready for his first Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old Swede took one win en route to finishing sixth in the GP2 Championship while racing with DAMS last year, and was subsequently promoted to F1 with Caterham. Although admitting that one can never be fully prepared for their first race, he and his team are as ready as they will ever be.
“I’ve been working for this chance since I started racing, and now it’s finally coming true, thanks to all the people who’ve supported me, and to the team for giving me this chance. We’ve done everything we can to prepare, but, honestly, I don’t think you can ever prepare for what it’ll feel like in the car, sitting on the grid as the lights go out in my debut race – however, that feeling will go very quickly and I know I’m ready to race.
“Honestly, I cannot wait for it all to start in Australia. It will be my first ever F1 race weekend as a race driver and I’m so excited about my debut season in F1 starting, and in Australia, a country with a lot of F1 history and seriously passionate fans, that’s just going to be cool.”
Speaking of the pre-season testing, which did not show good omens for the Renault powered teams (which includes Caterham), Ericsson acknowledged the difficulties but does not expect too many surprises come lights out in next Sunday.
“The pre-season tests were tough, but at the end of them we’d got through most of what we planned, so there shouldn’t be too many surprises in Melbourne. By the end of the tests our reliability was best of the Renault teams and we ran through a race simulation, including the formation lap procedure, starts and pitstops, so with the mileage we completed in both Bahrain tests, we’re as ready as we can be.
“I’ve also been back at the factory since leaving Bahrain and been driving the Melbourne track on the simulator which means it’ll only take a lap or two for me to get up to speed when we’re there.”
The Australian Grand Prix next Sunday kicks off the 2014 season. Ericsson will line up alongside Kamui Kobayashi, who missed 2013 over sponsorship problems.
Image courtesy Caterham F1 Team/LAT Photographic.