Formula 1 veteran Marcus Ericsson has chosen the IndyCar Series and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as his new challenge starting in 2019. The Swede will complete his fifth season of F1 in the coming weeks before turning his attention to the Honda-powered SPM team and the task of learning new circuits and the discipline of oval racing.
“It’s a great honor to be picked as one of the drivers at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and IndyCar for the 2019 season,” said Ericsson, whose switch to IndyCar was trailed by RACER at the beginning of the month. “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.”
The 28-year-old also considered the Carlin Racing IndyCar team, but as of last weekend in Mexico, his focus turned toward SPM due to its proven competitiveness with James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens (below). Ericsson will drive the No. 7 Honda alongside Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Honda.
“Ric (Peterson) and I are excited to welcome Marcus to the team,” SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt said. “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.”
With the signing of Ericsson, the majority of the full-time IndyCar grid is set. Of the remaining vacancies, Carlin Racing’s second Chevy-powered car and Juncos Racing’s primary Chevy entry are available for hire.