Marcus Ericsson says that the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team will go into the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend with positivity, after signs of encouraging progression two weeks ago in Australia.
Despite the improvements, Ericsson failed to finish after losing his power steering in the early stages of the season-opening round, whilst team-mate Charles Leclerc finished his first Formula 1 race in thirteenth out of fifteen finishers.
Sauber have been boosted by the acquisition of Audi Sport aerodynamics specialist Jan Monchaux, who started with the team at the beginning of the month; however with back-to-back rounds in Bahrain and China starting this weekend, the effect of his arrival will not be immediately noticeable.
Previewing this weekend’s race, Ericsson said that the Bahrain International Circuit is one that he enjoys, although he is yet to register a finish higher than twelfth at the venue, even when taking his days in the GP2 Series into consideration.
“Off to the first back-to-back of the year. Bahrain is a track that I know very well,” said Ericsson.
“I have been there a lot of times and enjoy driving on it.”
The Swede noted that the unusual desert conditions can make the track particularly demanding. Wind can blow detritus onto the circuit, which can delay progression in the first Free Practice sessions.
“The track has different challenges to it, one being the sand surrounding it,” noted Ericsson.
“Depending on the wind and weather conditions, this can become a defining factor. In the middle of the track, there is a very technical left hand corner which is one of the most difficult ones of the season. It also offers some good overtaking opportunities which I look forward to.”
Ericsson concluded in a buoyant fashion, saying that the team were “feeling positive” – a welcome change after the lack of pace shown in pre-season testing and the early stages of the Australian weekend. The 27-year-old believes that the car now has potential, no doubt helped by the current-spec Ferrari engine deal.
“After seeing our potential in Australia, we are going into Round 2 feeling positive.”