Saturday, 29 March 2014 | MYT 8:55 PM
Caterham's Ericsson learning a rough and wet lesson
Marshals lift the damaged car of Swedish Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson of Caterham F1 Team on a truck after he crashed out of the qualifying session ahead of the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit. - EPA
SEPANG: Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson is finding out the hard way how difficult it is to control a Formula One machine on a wet Sepang track.
Ericsson lost it during the first part of qualifying and went off the track into a wall, through a brake marker and back onto the track where he was almost hit by Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez.
The crash sheared off a sizeable chunk of the front part of the car and resulted in the first part of qualifying coming to a premature close.
As a result, the 23-year-old Swede will start the race from the back of the grid after finishing bottom of the timesheets.
Ericsson apologised to the team and said Saturday’s wet qualifying session was a whole new experience for him.
“We went into qualifying with a bit of an idea about where we would be in terms of outright pace in the dry,” said Ericsson.
“But the rain started just before qualifying and we went into the delayed session knowing we’d start on a wet track.
“That was my first ever wet running in F1, in any session ... so, from the first lap, it was all a new experience for me.
“With every lap I was learning more and more and we made a quick stop with a few minutes left to put on another set of intermediate tyres. But then, on the final quick lap, I made a mistake in sector one and crashed.
“I am really sorry for the team. They’ve worked so hard all weekend on the problems we’ve had and now they have another huge job ahead of them to prepare the car for Sunday.
“This has been another big lesson for me – my first wet running in F1, my first Q1 on inters and my first big off.
“It’s all part of being a rookie in F1 and I will learn from every single thing that happens.”
His Japanese team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, didn’t fare any better.
Kamui, who is driving for the Malaysian-backed team without pay, had only a limited running time with the car due to technical problems and will start the race from 20th position.