Marcus Ericsson has revealed that his improved on-track performances have all come from improving his mental strength, with the Swede feeling he is now able to put together a complete weekend together more often than not.
The Sauber F1 Team driver may have failed to finish inside the points during 2016, with his best finish of eleventh coming at the Mexican Grand Prix, but Ericsson believes his performances were much improved when he relaxed and removed the stress from his driving, particularly when it matters least during free practice on Friday.
“I’ve developed my mental side and been much stronger to deliver when it matters in qualifying and races, and that goes hand in hand with the way I’ve driven during the weekend,” said Ericsson on motorsport.com. “Whereas last year I tried to make the most of it in every session and got stressed if I was not doing well in free practice.
“Now I know Saturday and Sunday afternoon is where it matters, and whatever happens in practice sessions is all about preparation for those two sessions. In FP2 I could be nowhere but we know why, because we tested this and this, and you know.
“You don’t get stressed about it and you just continue the work you do with engineers and you get there for Saturday afternoon. I think that’s been the biggest thing. Also understanding what I need from the car to get the most out of it. I feel like I’ve developed that. During a weekend I know what I need to work on with my engineers to do a good job in qualifying.”