Ericsson optimistic for 2016 despite C35 delay

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Marcus Ericsson is optimistic about his prospects for the 2016 season, although he's the first to admit that the fact Sauber won't now have its new C35 chassis ready in time for the first four-day pre-season test at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona in February isn't exactly the ideal way to start.

"It is clear that it is not optimal but we can actually get some work done," Ericsson told Swedish motoring publication Teknikens Värld this week. "Ideally, I should have been driving the new car right from the first test but there's not much we can do about it now."

Ericsson pointed out that there was still valuable ways for him to benefit by participating in the test using a modified 2015-spec C34 chassis instead.

"Not least to gather data from the tyres but also test some new components and settings," he explained. "It is also good for us drivers, as we don't get to run all that much as you know."

Sauber's resources remain very limited meaning that the team can't afford to throw money at the problem of improving resources, although Ericsson is confident that the upgrade process will be better managed this season than it was last year.

"We will not have any huge resources, but it will be a little different approach in 2016 as we have a deadline for when the focus must move towards 2017 and the new regulations that are planned.

"Until then we will try to get as much new stuff as possible. We should not fall behind in the same way this year as we did during 2015."

Ericsson also hopes that the team's engine providers Ferrari will deliver a unit with more power and greater reliability this season, although he himself remains in the dark about how the progress is going at Maranello for the time being.

"I don't know anything more than what we've all been reading, but of course I have heard that the Ferrari technicians are very satisfied with the figures seen so far."

Ericsson won't get to try out the new engine in the first test as it can't be fitted to the old C34 chassis. That means Ferrari and newcomers Haas F1 will get the new engine to themselves for four days - which Ericsson pointed out might even play to Sauber's advantage,

"Hopefully both Ferrari and Haas sorted out any teething so I'm not particularly worried," he chuckled. "In addition, Ferrari extremely good track of their engines last season and I know that they'll put great focus on this again this year."

Before testing starts next month, Ericsson is making the most of the remaining off-duty time over the winter and has been spending several weeks at home in his apartment in Örebro where he's close to family and friends.

"I like Orebro as my family and all my friends live here, even though I dislike winter and cold," he said. " Most of the time during the year is spent in hotels, so it feels it is important that I have my home where I feel really comfortable."

But Ericsson also has to get back into training in preparation for the start of the season, and he and his trainer Alex Elgh have headed to the Thanyapura Sports Resort in Phuket which specialises in training elite athletes which is also used by McLaren's Jenson Button and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz.

"It's the perfect place to work out - not only the climate, but because everyone who lives there doing the same thing so it becomes a natural part of everyday life there."

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