Marcus Ericsson Adapts To IndyCar Parallel Universe

Marcus Ericsson on track at Texas Motor Speedway. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]

Marcus Ericsson on track at Texas Motor Speedway. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]

by Allan Brewer

April 18th was Marcus Ericsson’s first experience driving at speed on an oval-configuration racetrack—at Texas Motor Speedway, where he will compete Saturday night for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the IndyCar Series.

How different is the experience after a month of May speeding around Indianapolis Motor Speedway and competing in the Indianapolis 500? “The difference is huge compared to when I was here in April,” he said. “It was my first-ever experience on an oval. It was obviously a big challenge, but now after the month of May, I am feeling a lot more comfortable. Even though this track is a different track and challenge than Indy, I am feeling confident.”

When Marcus left Sauber F1, with which he still maintains a reserve driver status, his aim was to show the continent what they were missing. He served up a small sampler last weekend with a podium finish in Detroit, his first in an IndyCar event.

“The way we executed that race was great, from driving to pit stops to strategy. No matter where you go next, you will bring that sort of confidence and momentum into that next racing weekend. That’s what we’re trying to do in Texas,” he said.

“I’m certainly feeling confident in myself now,” he continued. “It’s been a good boost for the team, too, something we definitely can build on.”

Ericsson went on to evaluate his year so far, calculating the high points and the low. “Pre Detroit was disappointing result-wise, but very promising pace-wise. I think even from our first start in St. Pete, we had a good pace in the cars,” referring to the portion of the IndyCar schedule dominated by road or street courses.

“It’s been a big learning process for me,” he continued. “Like I said, the results have not been what I wanted. Obviously, the road and street courses are similar to what I have done all my life, but the ovals are something completely new. It’s been a lot to learn.”

“Hopefully after the podium last time out, we can continue to run up front.”

Regardless, Ericsson’s relationships in F1 remain tight: 10 of the crew from the Sauber F1 team were in Detroit, and came out to see the race. They celebrated with him afterwards. “I have gotten messages from Sergio Perez (Racing Point) and Daniel Ricciardo (Renault),” he said. “There are a few that have been reaching out, happy for my success.”

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