Andre Lotterer says he doesn't feel he has much to lose and is ready for the “big challenge” of racing in F1 for the first time.
The former Jaguar test driver and three-time Le Mans winner will make his grand prix debut at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend as he replaces Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham. While Lotterer is keen to play down expectations, he said his career achievements so far both give him confidence and take the pressure off.
“For sure I will have to learn everything very fast so don't expect too much from me!” Lotterer said. “In Formula One it's a lot that is dictated by the car and I'm aware that unfortunately – I don't want to speak bad about the team – we don't have a winning car but we have an updated package and I hope that I can bring all my experience and speed as fast as possible.
“It's an unusual situation so the wins in other categories gave me the confidence as well to think 'OK I have an established career on the other side' – which is Le Mans with Audi and also in Japan – so I don't have much to lose by doing this, let's say.”
And Lotterer highlighted just how little preparation he has had ahead of his debut as he explained that he's had just one day working with Caterham.
“Due to the last minute it was difficult to do preparation. On Monday I got the chance to do the simulator and do my seat and learn as much as possible about the car, the steering wheel and about all the functions. But I couldn't drive the car yet.”
While Lotterer is not setting any targets, he said he feels fully ready to deliver in F1 thanks to the variety of his current racing schedule.
“To have the chance to drive is something special, not everybody has the chance to jump in like that. So I thought if I have this opportunity, let's do it. For sure it's a big challenge, I think I have to be quite brave to jump in like this in the middle of the season but the reasons I feel ready for it are first of all I still drive single seaters – Super Formula – which I believe is one of the fastest single-seater series after Formula One. So in that sense I am not out of shape in Formula racing.
“I am racing really complex cars in WEC with Audi so for sure the last time I drove an F1 car is more than 10 years ago; the sport has change and evolved, but on my side I gained a lot of experience as well and it's something nice to do suddenly in my career.
“It's a great opportunity. I thank Caterham a lot for this, it was always a dream to do an F1 race, and also thanks to Audi and team TOMS in Japan to give me the freedom.”