» BACK TO CRASH.NET

Crash.Net WRC News

Mads Ostberg, Qatar M-Sport – Q&A

15 January 2013

Q:
Mads, you have a big season ahead of you. It may not be a full manufacturer drive after Ford's withdrawal but it's the next best thing with the Qatar M-Sport team. How much are you looking forward to the season ahead?

Mads Ostberg:
Well for me, it isn't the next best thing – it is absolutely the best thing for me and my career. M-Sport are a proper manufacturer team in my eyes and this is the best opportunity there was for me. It's a big season after we managed to put together a good season last year in a private team, and now we make the step up to a 'proper' team. It will be a good step for me and I have to cope with the pressure and get some good results. It is very important.

Q:
Last year you didn't compete in all the events but still only missed out on a top three championship finish in the final round. With that in mind, did 2012 exceed your expectations?

Mads Ostberg:
Especially in the second half of the season, I think we did a little bit more than we expected. We didn't have the results we wanted by the speed was good and we managed to win a lot of stages. The speed on tarmac was better and also on gravel so we made a good step forwards. Maybe it was more than expected, but when we were there it felt natural and I need to start this season as I finished the last one.

Q:
How big is this opportunity for you?

Mads Ostberg:
It's a huge chance. I got a win in Portugal last year but that wasn't how I wanted to get one and I am still looking for my first proper victory in the WRC this season. We have had many podiums and need to focus on getting more wins this year. That is the first target and we have to work to get the results that we expect and the team expects. After that we need to see what we can do, but first of all we will focus on winning some rallies.

Q:
You had a relationship with M-Sport already, but how have you found working with the team so far?

Mads Ostberg:
There are a lot of the same people as before so in one way it is the same, but in another way it is different as there are some new people who I have met before but were on the other side of the hospitality unit last year! It's a bit new and a bit different in how they do things when we have been testing but they aren't major changes and I feel confident inside the team and feel we have a good relationship.

Q:
You are the senior driver in the team despite still being young. Does it bring added pressure that you are effectively the team leader?

Mads Ostberg:
No, not any more than there is already. Evgeny has done almost as many rallies as me so we are nearly equal on that side and Thierry has done a lot so I think we are all the same and we need to work together. Maybe Malcolm will have to come in and correct us from time to time but that is his job and we will try to focus on our job.

Q:
The fact that Sebastien Loeb is only doing four rounds has opened up the championship somewhat for 2013. Are you going into the season aiming for the title or do you look at 2013 as a season when you want to be winning rallies and gaining experience before going for the title in 2014?

Mads Ostberg:
As you say it is very open with Sebastien not doing a full season but it is difficult to know what you want to achieve before the season starts. There are a lot of things that are new so we need to start the season focused on getting wins and then see what we can do in the championship. It might be a bit too hard to win the championship in my first year with a manufacturer team.

Q:
There is added competition from Volkswagen this season, who are putting a lot of money into their programme. Considering that there could be teething problems with the Polo in the early stages of the season, is it more important to get big points on the board early in the year before they get fully up to speed.

Mads Ostberg:
I think so. They are a new team but they have done so much testing and I think they will be strong early in the season as well. The focus will be the same all through the year although it may be more tricky for them right at the start. It is difficult o know what to expect from them so we need to just look at what we can do, focus on ourselves and try to score as many points as possible. If they get quicker as the season goes on, then we have to make sure that we step up as well.


» BACK TO CRASH.NET