Marcus Ericsson has described his debut race weekend in Formula 1 at the Australian Grand Prix as one of the hardest in his career, with the GP2 Series graduate struggling along with team-mate Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham throughout the majority of the weekend. After practically missing out on the whole on Friday due to technical gremlins, the Swedish driver retired from the race with an oil pressure issue.
Despite a relatively productive winter testing programme in Jerez and particularly Bahrain, Caterham began the season-opening race weekend in Australia with immediate technical issues, with both Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi only managing a combined three laps across the two opening practice sessions on the Friday. Although their weekend marginally improved the following day, the 57-lap Australian Grand Prix immediately started with disappointment with Kamui Kobayashi suffering from a brake-related issue and smashing into the rear of Felipe Massa’s Williams and into retirement.
Whilst Kamui Kobayashi’s race was brought to a premature conclusion, rookie Marcus Ericsson continued circulating in the second Caterham during the early stages of the race towards the rear of the order. Despite completing the first round of pit-stops and rising to as high as 11th on the fifth lap, the 23-year-old’s race was soon brought to a conclusion on lap 29 with an oil pressure issue on his Renault-powered machine. Despite describing his debut weekend as one of the hardest in his career, Marcus Ericsson is remaining confident and firmly believes he could’ve finished ahead of the Marussia duo of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.
“Even though my first race in F1 ended with a DNF I’m still proud of the way we fought today,” explained Marcus Ericsson, who graduated from the GP2 Series to Formula 1 for the new season. “It’s been a very difficult weekend overall, one of the hardest in my whole career, but we still showed a bit of the potential we have in the first laps of the first stint when I passed Sutil and was running well in twelfth. My first ever live pitstop [in] a Grand Prix went really well but then unfortunately an oil pressure problem forced us to stop – we don’t know what caused that yet but if we hadn’t had that I think we’d have finished ahead of the Marussias as I was pretty comfortable ahead of Chilton until the issue. For the last few laps of the first stint I was driving with pretty flat spotted tyres but the rear was still behaving well and the Power Unit felt good. That’s encouraging for the next race in Malaysia which is on a track I’ve raced at before and one I like, so I’m leaving Australia in a positive frame of mind and just want to get on with it again as soon as possible!”
With Caterham finally completing several laps in succession during Saturday and Sunday, the Leafield-based outfit will be hoping for a much more productive race weekend next time out in Malaysia when the sport reconvenes in several weeks time. With Marcus Ericsson having previously competed around the Sepang International Circuit in the GP2 Series, the Swedish ace will be aiming to hit the ground running next time out as he strives to reach the checkered flag.
Picture Copyright © Caterham F1 Team