As F1 enters the land made famous by the Sound of Music
, Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson is hoping that the Leafield squad will be 'on song' in its pursuit of rival Marussia.
Jules Bianchi's unexpected points in Monaco have left Caterham – and midfield regular Sauber - adrift at the bottom of the teams' standings and, after a double retirement in Canada last time out, Ericsson is hoping for better fortunes for both himself and veteran team-mate Kamui Kobayashi at the first Austrian Grand Prix for eleven years.
“It would be good to leave Austria on a positive note – it's been a while since we had one and with the big efforts everyone's putting in across the team the whole time, I think it's something we could do with,” the rookie noted, “It'll be good to be able to get back in the car after only a few laps of the race in Canada. We'd had a hard weekend until that point anyway, so an early DNF was even more hard to take, but I came straight back to the factory with the boys after the race and everyone just went straight back to work to prepare for the next race.”
Like many of his rivals, the Red Bull Ring will be new territory for Ericsson, but he is eager to take up the challenge.
“I've never raced in Austria before, so it'll be really interesting to go to a brand new track for me, even though I'm well aware of the history of the circuit,” he said, “A bit like Monaco, Ronnie Peterson won there, so it'll be another race I go to in his footsteps and after Monaco, where I met his daughter Nina, that means even more to me so, honestly, I can't wait!”
Despite his years in the top flight and racing in the European feeder series before that, Kobayashi will also be tackling the Austrian venue for the first time, and agrees with Ericsson that a change of luck is due at Caterham.
“To be totally honest, we would benefit a lot from a good weekend,” he confided, “We were unlucky again in Canada, with both cars having to retire because of reliability issues, something we've been focusing on from our side all year, and something Renault have improved dramatically from the early part of the season.
“Even though our pace in the early part of the Canadian GP was not where it should have been, our simulations have shown that, had we finished, we'd have been closer to the pack than it may have looked at the point where I had to retire, so this weekend it's important we cross the line. We have to finish the races so we can be there if and when it counts, and that's one of the main goals this weekend.”