Marcus Ericsson, Alfa Romeo, Spa, 2019

Ericsson standing by at Alfa Romeo after standing down from IndyCar drive

2019 F1 season

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Marcus Ericsson will not take part in this weekend’s IndyCar race at Portland as he will attend the Belgian Grand Prix in his capacity as reserve driver for Alfa Romeo.

Following a report Ericsson will race for the team this weekend, Alfa Romeo confirmed to RaceFans he has not been drafted in as a substitute.

Ericsson’s sudden departure from his season-long commitment to Schmidt Peterson and return to the F1 paddock prompted speculation about his future.

Ericsson was officially replaced by Kimi Raikkonen in the team’s line-up this year, as Antonio Giovinazzi took over from fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member Charles Leclerc. However Giovinazzi has struggled to impress, scoring just one of the team’s 32 points so far this year, though a penalty in Germany cost him what would have been his best result of the season.

No reason for the sudden need for Ericsson to be present at the track has been given. He has already competed in several IndyCar races which clashed with grand prix weekends.

However his spell in IndyCar has not been fruitful. After 15 rounds he lies 17th in the championship, trailing the three other drivers who are in their first full seasons: Santino Ferrucci, Felix Rosenqvist and Colton Herta.

Schmidt Peterson, which will join forces with McLaren in next year’s IndyCar season, confirmed Conor Daly will drive Ericsson’s car this weekend.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Ericsson standing by at Alfa Romeo after standing down from IndyCar drive”

  1. Ericsson sits 17th, but his very experienced teammate Hinchcliffe is only 11th. They have both finished on the podium once (Ericsson P2 in Detroit, Hinchcliffe P3 in Iowa). All in all, his rookie season has been good enough to warrant him seeing it out. Unless of course he has signed with someone else for 2020 already. Conor Daly, in the few races he has competed, hasn’t exactly set the world alight this year either.

    1. Agree, have to be realistic here, SPM is not a top team, he outraced Hinch on several occasions and was on his way for a sensational position on the indy 500. But some mistakes and bad luck (being run over by competitors) have hampered the results a bit.

    2. While I agree that his season hasn’t been hair-raisingly terrible, it really really wasn’t anything to be proud of, either. He’s 17th out of 19 full-time drivers, to put a bit of perspective on that number.
      He’s scored 16.3 points per race on average (counting Indy like a normal race without extra points), which corresponds to a typical finishing position between 13th and 14th place. However, that stat is a bit distorted by his podium finish in Detroit. In reality, his average finishing position was 15th (in a ~23 car field on average).
      His podium finish does stand out, however this was an extremely isolated result, as evidenced by the fact that, in his 15 races thus far, he only finished in the top 10 on 3 occasions.

      Compare that to Conor Daly, whose average points haul (again not counting Indy as a special event for the sake of comparability) in his 5 races thus far was 20.8 points per race, which corresponds to a typical finishing position of 10th or better. His actual average finishing position was 10.2.

      It bears pointing out that Ericsson’s team mate Hinchcliffe isn’t enjoying a stellar season, either (11th, 19.8 points per race, average finishing position 12.7, 7 top 10 results). But that is hardly a surprise, considering that, in his 7 full seasons in IndyCar thus far, he’s always been classified between 8th and 13th place in the final standings.
      But if you extend that argument to Conor Daly’s team mates in 2019, you won’t find too many happy faces, either. The fact that he did Indy for Andretti sort of spoils his success story, but if you compare him to his Carlin team mates, he was miles ahead on average.

      Long story short: Replacing Ericsson with Daly will most likely not hurt Arrow Schmidt Peterson, at least sporting-wise. Which begs the question why they stuck with him for so long (and would’ve continued to if he hadn’t received a call from the real world), when there were clearly faster free agents available. I guess it’s the very same reason that allowed him to drag on with his usually points-less career in F1 for so many years, despite his strongest selling point being that his team mates usually weren’t *that* much faster than him: Sponsorship money.

  2. i like to see ERi in indy

    1. @johnmilk I see what you did there, LOL.

    2. I must say I did have a comic vision of the PR person trying to script a press release of:

      “Kimi was last seen in a Viking helmet swimming in a lake of beer, we haven’t yet found him so are calling up a reserve driver as a precaution” :-D

  3. Ericson is the 4th best rookie out of 4, he’s not even the best Zweed out of 2 Zweeds….. And Indy Car is only about as fast as F2…. Maybe the driver reject pile that is Formula E , which is somewhere between F3 and Formula Renault 2.0 is a better option for him?

    That said, I actually think he would have gotten more than Giovinazzi’s 1 point in the first 12 races.

  4. Oh, come on. I can understand why they’d be dissatisfied with Giovinazzi, but I doubt that the driver market is so barren that they couldn’t find someone – anyone – else. If they really want to put him back in that seat, that’d be like Toro Rosso’s brilliant idea of getting rid of Kvyat to give Hartley a chance.

    1. @nase I believe Ericsson comes with a good deal of cash and he was finally getting together before his outing, so not really a bad choice.

      Getting a youngster to learn the ropes would be a mistake when average, over the hill Raikkonen is clearly showing what experience is worth, so getting Ericsson would not be a bad choice IMO. Being outside for a while is also good thing.

  5. Stand by for take off!
    Next stop: Ferrari! and a wdc..
    Thunderbirds are go

  6. Is he pencilled in for any free practice running?

  7. All part of Steiner’s cunning strategy to ensure that Grosjean isn’t hit by KMag.

  8. Supposedly its Raikkonen Ericsson could be subbing for this weekend.

    Talk of a leg injury they need to evaluate in FP1.

  9. SuperSuperStroll
    29th August 2019, 12:52

    “he has not been drafted in as a substitute” should read ‘now’?

  10. Isn’t Ericsson supposedly out of drive next Indy season with McLaren partnering SPM??? If so, I suppose there could be some dancing chairs in both Indy and F1…

  11. “I pulled a muscle and we will see how it is,” said Raikkonen. “We need to have some back-up plan. In my head it should be fine but you never know.

    Raikkonen did not elaborate on how he had sustained the injury: “Sport. It is dangerous. I always said it is more dangerous – drinking is probably safer. Usually you don’t get injured, you just get a hangover.”

    1. Ah, the dangers of playing “tennis” as an F1 driver @kerrymaxwell. If only he had just broken something falling from a bicycle, he would normally be driving (see Webber and others) :-)

  12. So has it been confirmed that Kimi has a potential leg problem?

    1. Kimi is pulling a leg on Ericsson.

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