Q: Marcus, your second year in F1 racing has started in somewhat surprising fashion, with points in two out of three Grands Prix. Are you surprised too?
Marcus Ericsson: No, not really. I wouldn’t call it surprising. It is a good step, indeed. Last season - my rookie year - it was pretty hard to sit in a car that was not competitive, with no chance to come close to points and of course you wonder about your future. But then I signed with Sauber, hoping that this would propel my career, even though they also had a difficult 2014 season with no points scored.
Q: So the two of you were the perfect match…
ME: Ha, yes! (laughs) Of course I didn’t know what to expect. But the history of Sauber has shown that they always have been able to score points in all the previous seasons and I believed that they would bounce back. And quickly we have shown that we have a strong package - team and driver!
Q: With Caterham you never had the slightest chance to show your true colours, but now they are coming through. What more can we expect from you?
ME: Of course there is nothing to show when you are in a car that is not strong enough. But now I am in a position where I can show a bit more of my potential and skills. I’ve started, but there is still a lot more to come!
Q: How much more? Do you have the race winner’s gene, the world champion’s gene?
ME: How can you know? You have to believe in yourself. I know that I can beat the best guys - as I did in other series. I know that I can succeed in F1. But then F1 is unpredictable. You also have to be in the right place at the right time. If that doesn’t come together nothing will help you.
Q: The first step to ‘right place, right time’ you’ve already achieved by joining Sauber…
ME: …yep, definitely. It’s been a good step up for me.
Q: Caterham was a team that started from scratch in 2010. Now you are with Sauber who have a long F1 history. Does that show? And what is different?
ME: You can feel quite quickly that the experience in the team is a huge asset. The structure in the team is much stronger. Everybody knows his place and task - and that makes processes much easier and much more effective.
Q: Your team mate Felipe Nasr is P7 in the standings and statistically rookie of the season so far. Is it welcome having a someone alongside you who forces you to give everything?
ME: It's great to have somebody like Felipe as team mate. He is also young and super ambitious so I am convinced that we will together bring the team forward. Of course there is always a certain amount of rivalry, but this is the peak of motor sport so to succeed is the religion of every driver who has made it into F1. But we share information and talk about the progress that we are making, so right now it is learning from each other. If that changes the higher you climb? Let's wait and see.
Q: What has been your highlight of 2015 so far? P8 in Australia, or making it into Q3 in Malaysia and China?
ME: Ha, hard to say. But obviously it was a special moment in Australia scoring my first F1 points. That moment you never forget. Q3 in Malaysia was also a real kick - so no picking one, but hoping that more such moments will follow!
Q: How would you rate the Sauber C34? Can the car remain this competitive for the whole season?
ME: The car feels really good. I am comfortable - and that was not the case last year. Whether it can be competitive the whole season will, of course, depend on our development speed – and that of the other teams. But my gut feeling tells me that we have a real chance to do well this season. And for as long as nobody proves different I will believe in that.
Q: You said that you always had problems with the Caterham car because of your height and weight, being one of the tallest and heaviest drivers on the grid. So is this now different with the Sauber car?
ME: With the Sauber car that was never an issue. The weight distribution is much better, so no issues in that respect - and the cockpit is bigger, which is pretty cool.
Q: What can we expect from you this weekend? What would be your best scenario?
ME: We have to build on the previous races. We have had a good package so far and this track should suit us even better than the China circuit. Q3 would be very welcome - and then get into the points. That would make for a cool Sunday evening!
Q: How long will the ‘cloud nine’ situation last? The season’s opening flyaway races are rarely a judge of the true pecking order, as the big teams always bring massive updates to the first European race. Can Sauber survive that?
ME: I think we have a lot of good stuff coming as well. We have a good base - and the season is long. That should make a promising year for me and the team.