Ericsson: Impossible to make predictions
9 March 2014 – Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson says it is impossible to make predictions about his outfit's position in the Formula 1 pecking order ahead of next weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old, who is set to become the first Swede to compete in the top echelon since Stefan Johansson departed in 1991, was unable to complete a qualifying simulation at the final pre-season test in Bahrain, and reckons the picture will only become clear for his team when the first grid-deciding session of the year begins.
"Since the tests finished there's been a lot of talk about what'll happen in Australia, but until we're actually on track it's impossible to predict what might happen," said Ericsson, a multiple race winner in the GP2 Series.
"We weren't able to do full performance runs on either of the last two days [during the final Bahrain test] so I think the first time we'll really see where we are on pace compared to the other teams will be in qualifying.
"What we do know is that in the race fuel and energy management strategies are going to be critical, so I'm glad we were able to work on them with Renault as much as we did in the tests. It might be confusing for the fans - a bit [like] watching drivers manage tyres during the first half of last year, but it will all be clear at the finish."
Although the Renault-powered outfits endured persistent struggles with the French manufacturer's new turbo power unit during the winter tests, Ericsson was encouraged by the late reliability gains his team made.
"By the end our reliability was best of the Renault teams and we ran through a race sim, including the formation lap procedure, starts and pit-stops, so with the mileage we completed, we're as ready as we can be," he said.
"I've also been back at the factory since leaving Bahrain and I've 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."