Ericsson: change to mental approach led to F1 improvements

Marcus Ericsson - Sauber
Marcus Ericsson - Sauber

Sauber's Marcus Ericsson believes a change to his mental approach to racing provided clear benefits to his performance in 2016.

The Swede was determined to capitalize on his experience when he kicked off his second season of F1 racing but a state of stress impacted his driving in the early part of the year.

Ericsson put his head down and altered his approach to his Grand Prix weekends, an effort which improved his performance relative to his team mate, Felipe Nasr.

"This year especially I've been able to work better through the weekends," Ericsson explained to  Autosport.

"Free practice sessions haven't been the most important for me. I've been focusing on qualifying and that system has been working very good for me.  I really found a way to get a reference of what I need to be fast.

"I need a stable rear end going into corners so I can trust that and then I can get the confidence to carry the speed going into the exits of the corners. That was something that wasn't maybe 100% clear for me before.

"These types of details sound small but in the end they make a big difference."

Whereas he would lose ground mentally when facing a handling difficulty, Ericsson eventually learned to focus on extracting the best from his car when it mattered most.

"The biggest thing is that I'm stronger mentally now, so in free practice, if you're a bit lost with the car and driving, there's no reason to get frustrated because free practice doesn't matter.

"It's Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon that matter. If we are lost with the set-up at one point, we don't get s stressed - we just keep on working.

"It's been nice to build up through the weekends and when we come to Saturday afternoon usually we are there or thereabouts with the car and I'm there or thereabouts with the driving and I'm able to unlock the potential of the car for qualifying on Saturday."

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