Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson believes he is finally a proper competitor in Formula 1 this year and not just making up the numbers as he felt was the case in 2014.
Ericsson’s debut F1 campaign with the now-defunct Caterham team proved to be a difficult one as it simply fought with Marussia to avoid the last row of the grid.
Caterham fell into administration in October, with Ericsson terminating his contract with the team a few weeks later after being picked up by Sauber for the 2015 season.
Sauber endured its worst season in its history last year by failing to collect a point, but has proven to be a solid midfield team again this year, with Ericsson in the points at three grands prix.
Assessing the biggest difference between driving for Caterham and Sauber, Ericsson initially joked: “That I have a competitive car!”
He then added: “It’s a bigger team, more experienced, and you feel that when you work with the people in the team.
“Of course, as a driver, it was really difficult last year with Caterham because we were so far off the midfield, so it was difficult to make an impression.
“This year with Sauber we’ve been in a position where we can fight for points more or less every weekend, so that’s the big difference.
“We’re now racing other people, we’re trying different strategies, we go wheel-to-wheel with different guys, which has helped develop me a lot and helped me to show what I can do.”
Although Ericsson’s few months at Caterham were tough, he can appreciate they played a part in his education.
“Last year was very good for me,” added Ericsson.
“As a kid you always dream of Formula 1 and then the first couple of races in F1, it’s always very special.
“It was good for me to do that first season, to get that under my belt, to have the experience from that and then start over this year.
“But, in a way, this is the first season where I’m racing in F1, not just participating.”