By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports today confirmed that Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson will join the team in the No. 7 Honda entry for the 2019 IndyCar season.
Ericsson will partner James Hinchcliffe at SPM while Robert Wickens is recovering from his August incident at Pocono Raceway. Ericsson has 95 Formula One starts, recently finishing ninth at the Mexican Grand Prix.
The 28-year-old Swedish driver will leave Sauber’s racing efforts after the 2018 Formula One season, with team deciding to use Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen for 2019, but Ericsson will remain with the team as a reserve driver.
“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, who has six points-scoring results this year through 19 races.
“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 co-owner Sam Schmidt shared his emotions on having Ericsson join the team.
“Ric (Peterson) and I are excited to welcome Marcus to the team,” 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.”
The team has foregone the use of the No. 6 entry until Wickens is capable of racing again.