IndyCar: Ericsson aims for long-term US racing career
By Chris Medland | RACER magazine and RACER.com F1 corresondent
Marcus Ericsson intends on racing in the United States for a long time after confirming a move to IndyCar with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2019.
The Swede was dropped by Sauber in favor of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi next season, although he was retained in a reserve driver capacity within the team. After finishing ninth in the Mexican Grand Prix it was confirmed that Ericsson will race the No.7 Honda for SPM next year, and he says it could well mark the end of his Formula 1 career as he targets a long spell in the US.
“I go to America fully committed to doing a great job over there,” Ericsson said. “I see myself as being there for quite some time. But then in the future you never know what will happen. I’m just super excited to go there. I met the team and it felt really, really good. I think IndyCar, from the outside, looks like a lot of fun, so I can’t wait to get started.”
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Ericsson is coming to the end of his fifth season in Formula 1 with 95 starts to date, but he admits the potential to race for wins, rather than being restricted by his F1 machinery, is additionally appealing.
“It’s been amazing, I’ve really enjoyed it, but it’s also been tough. Most of the time I’ve been running in back-of-the-grid teams and cars and that’s always tough, especially when you’re used to growing up through the junior ranks and you always fight for wins and podiums and you always go in with that mindset to a race weekend, and then the last five years that’s never been realistic and that’s been the tough part of it.
“That’s why also I’m so excited about next year, that I can actually be back racing for wins again. I bring a lot of experience and a lot of good memories from these five years, for sure.”
Despite his excitement for 2019, Ericsson’s immediate focus is on continuing his recent good form at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, with Sauber having moved ahead of Toro Rosso in the constructors’ championship.
“We are confident that we can be competitive here. I’ve scored points now two weekends in a row and I’m aiming to continue that. I think the car at the moment is competitive. We know it’s very tight there in the midfield but we’ve done a good job all year to improve all the time and we continue to do that and I’m sure we’re going to be in the fight this weekend as well. I feel really good, feel really confident so I’m sure we’re going to be there and fight for those points on Sunday.”
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ABOUT CHRIS MEDLAND
While studying Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Chris managed to talk his way into working at the British Grand Prix in 2008 and was retained for three years before joining ESPN F1 as Assistant Editor. After three years at ESPN, a spell as F1 Editor at Crash Media Group was followed by the major task of launching F1i.com’s English-language website and running it as Editor. Present at every race since the start of 2014, he has continued building his freelance portfolio, working with international titles. As well as writing for RACER, he contributes to BBC 5Live and Sky Sports in the UK as well as working with titles in Japan and the Middle East.