Mid-Season Review: Marcus Ericsson

Its that time of year again – the period within which Formula One teams down tools and head off for a well earned rest. Throughout the summer hiatus, I will analyse each and every driver from each and every team, giving a judgement as to how impressive their respective campaigns have been so far and their prospects in for the near future. A full schedule for these Mid-Season Review articles will be featured on a separate page, so you can find out exactly when your favorite driver will be coming under scrutiny. Today, Marcus Ericsson is the man under my microscope…

Season So Far…

Australian Grand Prix
Retired
Malaysian Grand Prix
14th
Bahrain Grand Prix
Retired
Chinese Grand Prix
20th
Spanish Grand Prix
20th
Monaco Grand Prix
11th
Canadian Grand Prix
Retired
Austrian Grand Prix
18th
British Grand Prix
Retired
German Grand Prix
18th
Hungarian Grand Prix
Retired

Baptism of Fire

As far as rookie season’s go, Marcus Ericsson’s has perhaps been one of the most turbulent – unfortunately for him, it is no secret that Caterham are a team in turmoil. After yet another disappointing winter in which the team have failed to live up to their potential, Tony Fernandes has seemingly lost patience and decided to sell the Leafield based squad. Understandable, but the transition between owners has certainly been far from seamless. With car design now set to be conducted by committee, (which is always a challenging scenario and certainly unfavorable) and 40 of the redundant ex-employees now entering a court battle with ex-employers, the situation is not about to improve in a hurry. This is of course a hugely simplified description of events, but political talk seems inappropriate following a first half of the season where the racing has taking centre stage.
While Ericsson will have undoubtedly attempted to distance himself from the political fallout, it must be very difficult to ignore. Lets not forget, there were rumors that Caterham would not even feature at Silverstone following their sale, which will have unsettled not only Ericsson, but all remaining employees of the team. To add to any underlying anxieties, Carlos Sainz Jr has reportedly been talking to the team with the potential of moving towards a race seat. At present, even the drivers’ job security at Caterham is questionable. Instability of this ilk would be damaging for any driver, let alone a rookie looking to make an impression in Formula One.

So Close, But Yet So Far

While neither Ericsson nor Caterham in general have been able to score points so far in this campaign, the Swede has recorded several impressive results. Despite the CT05’s deficiencies both aerodynamically and in regards to powertrain performance, Ericsson was on the brink of scoring Caterham’s first point in Monaco, as he finished in P11 following a pit lane start. Admittedly, the race was incident packed and Caterham’s arch rivals Marussia finally broke their points duct with Jules Bianchi’s P9. However, considering the performance advantage that Marussia possessed at the time and the comparative experience of Bianchi compared with Ericsson, the young Swede demonstrated his talents well on this outing. Meanwhile, points may have been forthcoming in the hugely dramatic Canadian Grand Prix – Ericsson’s turbo failure robbed him of the opportunity to be “in it to win it” as the final lap drama unfolded. This has been somewhat of a recurring issue for Ericsson this season, with four of his five retirements coming as a result of reliability issues – suddenly his list of results becomes less concerning and more an unfortunate series of events. I for one have sympathy for the Swede.

As For The Rating…

Marcus Ericsson’s 2014 campaign so far warrants 6/10
As previously mentioned, circumstances at Caterham has cast a shadow over the first ten races of Ericsson’s Formula One career, and political issues have been a burden to carry as have reliability concerns. However, he has impressed me with the manner in which he has taken the fight to Kamui Kobayashi, (an analysis of the teammate battle will feature in the analysis of Kobayashi’s season so far tomorrow), a far more experienced name. Whether he is given a chance to prove his talents in a more competitive team remains to be seen. I for one, hope that Caterham do not make a hasty decision to offload the youngster who seems to have plenty of talent.

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