Marcus Ericsson heads to IndyCar in 2019 with SPM alongside James Hinchcliffe
Marcus Ericsson has been confirmed to join the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports outfit for the 2019 IndyCar season alongside his reserve role in Formula 1 with Sauber.
Ericsson was poised to remain with the Swiss team for the 2019 season until Ferrari opted to sign Charles Leclerc alongside Sebastian Vettel which prompted Kimi Raikkonen to return to Sauber in a multi-year deal.
The move disrupted Ericsson's future as Raikkonen came in Sauber without any links to Ferrari as the Italian manufacturer then decided to put their other junior Antonio Giovinazzi in the second seat leaving Ericsson to a reserve role.
The 28-year-old hinted on a IndyCar move during the Russian GP weekend which now has been confirmed as he joins the SPM outfit in the #7 Honda machinery for a full year alongside series veteran James Hinchcliffe in the #5 Honda.
"It’s a great honour to be picked as one of the drivers at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and IndyCar for the 2019 season," said Ericsson. "It feels like a perfect step for me and my career after five years in F1.
"I can’t wait to start work with SPM and all the people in the team which I’ve heard a lot of good things about. They’ve had some great success over the years, and I’m looking forward to work hard to continue and improve on that path.
"The racing in IndyCar looks great and I feel really excited to be part of it in the future. It will be a lot to learn including new tracks, oval racing, etc. I know it won’t be easy, but it’s a challenge I’m very much looking forward to and I can’t wait to get started."
SPM's co-owner Sam Schmidt added: "Ric [Peterson] and I are excited to welcome Marcus to the team. He has a ton of experience racing in the top levels of motorsports, so we believe that he will be able to contribute to our development program that began in earnest in 2018.
"While the circuits on the IndyCar schedule will be brand new to him, particularly the ovals, we have a lot of confidence and trust in his eagerness to learn along with his work ethic. We think he and James (Hinchcliffe) will be a good fit to push one another and fight for those wins."
The team will keep the #6 car ready for 2018 Rookie of the Year Robert Wickens, who is on the mend after his horrific crash in Pocono but it looks unlikely that the Canadian will recover in time for the 2019 season.
Ericsson becomes the second Swede in the field with Felix Rosenqvist already announced as the driver of Chip Ganassi Racing. Elsewhere, SPM will continue with Britain's Jack Harvey in a part-time capacity through the the collaboration with Meyer Shank Racing.
[Note: This story was also written by me on Formula Rapida]