Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Marcus Ericsson has found an unexpected ally in the opening stages of his rookie NTT IndyCar Series campaign: Robert Wickens.
In the midst of the Canadian’s rehabilitation from the violent crash suffered at Pocono in August, Wickens’ presence is adding comfort for Ericsson and, most importantly, easing the transition from Formula 1 into a new form of racing.
“We all – the whole team, including myself – I was super happy to see Robbie there [in St. Petersburg]. He’s a big inspiration with the fight he’s doing at the moment,” Ericsson said. “He’s keeping his spirits high, and just having him there with us was just a huge boost for everyone. That was really, really positive.”
Having gone through the same transition from European road racing to the American open-wheel series in 2018, Wickens’ value to Ericsson goes far beyond inspiration.
“And also, more on a technical way, he was very helpful for me – especially in the days before the race,” Ericsson said. “There were so many things to get in your head before the first race, which is different than [what] I’m used to.”
With physical therapy and other rehabilitative efforts serving as Wickens’ top priority, it’s unclear how many additional IndyCar rounds he’ll attend this season. But as far as Ericsson is concerned, there’s no such thing as too much input from the rapid Canadian.
“There I was, sitting down with Robbie for 15 minutes on race day, and going through different things that he had experienced: His loss here on the first race; about restarts; about pit-out, pit-in; and how he worked with the different tools in the car,” said the Swede.
“All these small details… he was going through them from his memory from last year, and he was so helpful for me.
“It really helped me to have the strong race that I had; definitely a lot of things that Robbie contributed to. It was really good. We all hope that he will join in more races this year. His experience and knowledge are very valuable for us.”