• Charles Pic exclusive interview

'I know it will be very, very hard'

Chris Medland February 27, 2013

Charles Pic spoke exclusively to ESPN after completing his running at the second pre-season test in Barcelona

Charles Pic has 20 race starts to his name after making his debut for Marussia in 2013 © Sutton Images
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Two tests done already, how does it feel with the new team so far?
I think at the moment we're still in basic testing, so on this side it's gone quite well. We have all the information that we wanted and now in the final test I think it will be more about optimisation for Melbourne, then afterwards to see where we are is very difficult at the moment , we will have to wait until Melbourne.

How different does it feel compared to last year when you didn't run the new car for Marussia last year?
Ah this is of course much better to do pre-season testing, for sure.

For your own personal feeling do you feel more comfortable?
Yes, of course. Last year was my first year so I have more experience now and of course I feel better and more prepared for the first race.

It is your second year but you are with a new team, so how are your confidence levels going in to the new season?
My confidence level is good because I see that all the team is very motivated to make a good job this year and progress. I think we have to wait and see where we are in Melbourne - this is the first thing - then we will have to progress through the year; for me this is very important and then if we are in a position to score the first point for the team it will be great.

Do you think that's a realistic target for this year; to go after points?
I mean, I know it will be very, very hard and we will need some changing conditions a bit like the last race in Brazil. But we will see.

As you have a year's experience and Giedo [van der Garde] hasn't, do you perhaps feel like you're in a position to lead the team forward?
No, I'm not seeing things like that. For me, I give my best every day to help the team and try to improve myself and the car. That's it.

Pic joined Caterham after missing out on 10th in the constructors' championship as a Marussia driver last year © Sutton Images
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How is your relationship with Giedo?
It's very good. I had one year with him in GP2 so I know him and it's good. I think we are very motivated to give everything we can to help the team to progress and that's the important thing.

Do you think you have an advantage over him this year having had a year's experience racing in Formula One?
I don't know. Giedo is a very good driver, for sure in F1 I have one more year's experience compared to him but he's racing for longer than me! We will see, I'm sure he will do a very good job this year and then of course I will give my best too.

What are the most important things that you've learnt last year that will help you this year?
I think in your first year you have many things to learn in F1 because you have many tools that can help you to optimise the car that you can play with that you don't have in GP2. So you have many things to learn. I think what is important is to be able to know them all and use them all; there is not one in particular.

And knowing them all will help you focus more on racing more than anything else?
No because you have different problems each time so you need to think differently to find the different solutions. For this year I think everybody will get a little surprise with the tyres, so it's one other interesting point that we will have to think about and find good solutions.

Are you happy that this is a long-term project for you? Because the focus really is on 2014...
Yeah, of course. I think there are two targets: The first one is as I said to see where we are in Melbourne, progress through the year and see if we're in position to score the team's first point. Then the second objective is to prepare the team and prepare for 2014 because it will be a new car, new engine so a lot of things will change and I think it's an opportunity for us to make an improvement.

"It's very tough for the young teams to progress and it's very tough for the driver too because there is a lot of competition" © Sutton Images
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It looks like it could be quite close between you and Marussia this season; how would it feel if Marussia was to beat Caterham this year with you having driven for both teams?
I don't know. Honestly, I don't know; what is important is that for the moment we focus on ourselves, prepare well for Melbourne and then in Melbourne get everything out of the car - I think this is very important - and then we will see where we are.

You're now the only driver who has driven for Marussia who is left on the grid - the team has two new drivers and Timo Glock has left - does that show how tough it is to stay in the sport and prove yourself?
Yes, Formula One is very tough. It's very tough for the young teams to progress and it's very tough for the driver too because there is a lot of competition and you have to beat the best. So yes, but it's the way it is and it's part of Formula One.

Is it something that doesn't help the drivers though? Is the pressure too much sometimes?
I think you have to be able to use the pressure to make you better, not the opposite, so you have to learn how to use it to be better with the pressure.

What would you term a success at Caterham this year? What would you be happy with if we were talking after the Brazilian Grand Prix?
To progress. For me this is very important. The most important is that we progress, and then if we are in position, score the first point for the team.

And for you do you think that you can be challenging for points at every race with the team next season?
I don't want to think about 2014 because in order to be good in 2014 we have to think through 2013 and make the right job in 2013. Then when we are in 2014 we can think about 2014, but we have to be focused on now and what we can do to optimise what we have now and improve ourselves from where we are now.

Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1

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Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1 Chris Medland, who in his youth even found the Pacific GPs entertaining, talked his way in to work at the British Grand Prix and was somehow retained for three years. He also worked on the BBC's F1 output prior to becoming assistant editor ahead of the 2011 season