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Marcus Ericsson Q&A: Sauber may have a sleepless night ahead

30 Oct 2015

The opening day in Mexico City didn't exactly go to plan for Marcus Ericsson, who wound up 17th fastest in FP2 - more than one second down on team mate Felipe Nasr. As the Swede explains, it is proving difficult to adapt to the unique circuit - and that could make for a long night trying to find the solution...

Q: Marcus, first things first - how was your first day on this circuit? It looks spectacular for the fans - is it the same for the drivers?

Marcus Ericsson: It is a fantastic track - but unfortunately not for us today. The track is still very slippery as the tarmac seems to leak oil, and on top of that I had issues bringing the tyres up to temperature. We have tried many options - but none really gave us a breakthrough. We have to go over the data this evening - even if it takes all night - to find some sort of solution that will give us the chance be competitive.

Q: Your second season in F1 is coming to an end. Last year you finished 18th, and this year you are currently P18 - not much has changed from the outside. Is that a fair reflection?

ME: Everything has changed! Last year was a hell of a difficult year. We've been always at the back and not anywhere near scoring points, so this season was a big step up. It is a ‘wow' feeling to score points. It makes all the difference. I think it would have been a good fight for Sauber in the midfield had we not been hampered by bad luck quite a few times, but that is how it goes sometimes. But joining Sauber was a massive step up for me. I was also able to show more of what I can to on track - not just only being the guy who drives at the back.

Q: So it is only the standings that seem frozen in time - you have moved forward?

ME: Yep. Everything is much better!

Q: Which of your five points finishes this year was the best?

ME: Obviously scoring my first point in Australia was a special feeling. Pretty emotional! But taking it from a pure race perspective probably my race in Monza was my best race so far. I enjoyed my fight with Nico Hulkenberg. 

Q: So far you have nine points, while your team mate Felipe Nasr has 27. Can you explain the difference?

ME: We have been pretty similar in pace for most of the season in qualifying and the races, but I think Felipe was able to make the most of the times when a lot of people retired and thus scored some big points - whereas I have only scored points when a lot of cars finished. I think that has made the biggest difference. But no doubt about it, Felipe has done a very good job - so I will try to score at the last three races! 

Q: What was the most difficult thing to adjust to this year with Sauber?

ME: Probably to get to know all the people and find out what makes them all tick! (laughs) But Sauber in this respect is a pretty smooth team. Basically it was just growing together. 

Q: The regulations for next year allow teams to use 2015 engines. Will Sauber race with an old spec engine, or will they use the 2016 Ferrari power unit?

ME: Hah! As far as I understand we will race with the2016 engine. So we should be really fine.

Q: Will that be your chance to escape P18 in the standings?

ME: Ha, I hope so. Ferrari has done an amazing job with their engine this season so that should propel us next season. It sounds like a huge boost is around the corner for me. (laughs)

Q: The last two races you haven't finished. Can you talk us through what happened and how disappointing that was for you?

ME: Yes, it has been a bit frustrating lately. We had bad luck in Russia with Hulkenberg spinning just in front of me and I was not able to avoid him - and in Austin it was down to an electrical failure. Nothing to cheer about, but situations like this are there to be turned around.

Q: Mexico is new to everybody. What is your impression of the track - and does it give you a chance of scoring points?

ME: I am impressed - it is a cool setting, quite technical, and if you see those grandstands you can imagine what will happen on Sunday! Points are the aim of course. But this track is very special. My guess is that either a car loves it or not. And if not then you will have a hard time. But let's wait and see what happens tomorrow. Maybe we find the right solutions in the data this evening!

Q: The track has many slow corners. Could that be a relief for teams with engines that are a bit less powerful?

ME: I wouldn't say that - but yes the corners will be a challenge for the cars  and the drivers. This track forces you to think and plan.

Q: So it is not only a car and tyre effort but also a brain effort?

ME: Yes, definitely.