'Don't expect too much from me' - Lotterer
Andre Lotterer is braced for a struggle on his Formula One debut in Belgium but says the opportunity was simply too good to turn down.
Lotterer, 32, is a surprise replacement for Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham this weekend, a deal was announced on Wednesday to initially cover one race. With three Le Mans 24 Hour titles, including 2014, and success in Japan's Super Formula, Lotterer has a great deal of experience to his name but he knows stepping into F1 at short notice will still provide plenty of challenges.
"For sure, I will have to learn everything very fast so don't expect too much for me," Lotterer said. "In Formula One a lot is dictated by the car and unfortunately, though I don't want to speak bad about the team, we don't have a winning car, but we have an updated package and I hope I can bring all my experience and my speed as fast as possible.
"It's an unusual situation. The wins in other categories give me the confidence as well to think 'OK, I have an established career on the other side', which is Le Mans with Audi and in Japan. I don't have much to lose doing this, let's say."
Lotterer's F1 chance appeared to have vanished after missing out on a seat following tests for Jaguar in the early 2000s. Despite his reservations about how this weekend may unfold Lotterer says it did not have any impact on his desire to accept the invitation from Caterham.
"Sure, the last time I drove an F1 car was ten years ago and since then the sport has changed a lot and evolved but on my side I have changed a lot and evolved. But on my side I have gained a lot of experience as well and it's something nice to do at this stage in my career, it's a great opportunity; I have to thank Caterham a lot for this, it was always a dream to do an F1 race.
"First of all, to have the chance to drive is something special. I don't think everyone has the chance to jump in like that so I thought, 'I have this opportunity, let's do it!' I think I might have to be quite brave to jump in like this in the middle of the season but the reason I feel ready is that first of all I still race single-seaters, Super Formula, which I believe is one of the fastest single-seaters race series after Formula One. In that sense I'm not really out of shape in Formula racing, plus I'm racing very complexed cars in WC with Audi."
Lotterer also confirmed he had been in the simulator on Monday to adjust his seat and tweak set-up but had not had the chance to drive.