F1’s Ericsson joins SPM, but doesn’t replace Robert Wickens
Out-going Sauber Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson has confirmed he will switch full-time to IndyCar for 2019.
The Swedish driver is set to join Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as teammate to Ontario’s own James Hinchcliffe, but will not be replacing the injured Robert Wickens in the team’s line-up.
SPM today announced that Ericsson will pilot the #7 Dallara DW12, and that the Indianapolis-based team will continue to reserve the #6 seat for injured Canadian IndyCar driver Robert Wickens “when he wants to and is able to return.”
The Guelph-native was involved in an horrific accident at Pocono back in July that left IndyCar’s 2018 Rookie of the Year paraplegic. In his first social media update post-Pocono, Wickens promised back in September he will “train as hard as possible to make sure [he’s] back in a racecar as quickly as possible,” Schmidt Peterson Motorsports patriarch Sam Schmidt honouring this commitment accordingly.
Ericsson, meanwhile, a former GP2 and British Formula 3 race winner, makes way for both 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari protégé Antonio Giovinazzi in 2019.
The announcement brought to an end a five-year tenure in F1, which started with the short-lived Caterham F1 Team in 2014 before the Swedish driver swapped to Sauber for 2015 and beyond. Come season’s end, Ericsson will have 97 F1 starts to his name, and, thus far, a best-finish of 8th place (Australia ’15).
Describing the move to SPM as “a perfect step for [him] and [his] career,” Ericsson will retain his reserve driver role with Alfa Romeo Sauber alongside his IndyCar commitments.
“Ric (Peterson) and I are excited to welcome Marcus to the team,” said SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt.
“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.”
SPM also confirmed that Hinchcliffe will continue to drive the team’s #5 entry, while Briton’s Jack Harvey will continue a part-campaign through SPM’s collaboration with Meyer Shank Racing.