Marcus Ericsson expects to benefit from familiarity with the Circuit de Catalunya as F1 returns to action at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.
The rookie has had only limited knowledge of the tracks used for the four 'flyaway' races that opened the 2014 campaign – and none at all of either Melbourne or Shanghai – but considers Barcelona a 'second home' and is looking forward to being able to get down to business as soon as the pit-lane opens on Friday morning.
“I've had a very good two week break back at home in Sweden, but now I want to get back on track and Spain's the perfect place to do so!” he confirmed, “This will be the first race of the year at a track I know well and, while it's only a small advantage, it's obviously good to have that knowledge as it makes the initial runs on Friday more useful, and it means I can attack a lap more efficiently right from the start of FP1.
“That's important at any race, but especially this weekend as we have some new parts coming and it will be critical to complete the run plans we have for those on Friday so we can really see where we can find maximum lap-time.”
As has become traditional, the Spanish Grand Prix – the first European race on the schedule – will see all eleven teams bringing a first raft of updates for their cars, and Caterham is no different, with particular attention being paid to both the CT05's front and rear wings and its floor as the Leafield squad attempts to get the edge over closest rival Marussia and, potentially, close the gap to the midfield.
For Ericsson, however, the biggest difference will be that fact that there will be additional number-crunching going on hundreds of miles away from Barcelona in an effort to ensure that the upgrade works effectively.
“As we have had at all the races this year, in addition to the work on track we'll also have the simulator operational back at Leafield, and all the simulation software we have at our disposal, to help generate even more data,” he noted, “So, while the focus will be on Spain, there will also be a lot of work going on back at the factory to help us even more. Obviously that's a big step up in terms of support from the last time I raced in Barcelona but, for me, it's all part of my progression and I can't wait to start work again!”
Engine partner Renault is also planning to bring updates to Spain, despite track support leader Cedrik Staudohar admitting that the Circuit de Catalunya holds few unknowns for the F1 fraternity.
“We have so much information on Barcelona from previous tests that there won't be too many surprises,” he confirmed, “The majority of the workload will come from evaluating the new upgrades on the Power Unit software and chassis side.
“We will have the next phase of the software upgrades in Spain, so we expect improvements in both driveability and energy management. The improved response will be important in the low to mid speed corners and coming onto the straight.”