Marcus Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson will join IndyCar team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the 2019 season. In this picture, Ericsson of Sweden and Sauber F1 walks in the paddock after practice for the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Oct. 19, 2018. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Marcus Ericsson has secured his racing future by landing a drive in IndyCar for the 2019 season with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports after he was axed by the Sauber F1 team.

The Swedish racer spent the last five years in Formula 1 with the Sauber team, but he has been replaced by Kimi Raikkonen for the 2019 season. He was in the running for the second seat with the Swiss-owned outfit, but that has gone to Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi.

Ericsson will still serve as the reserve driver for the Hinwil-based team and represent the team as an ambassador but will spend most of the 2019 season in the United States after being confirmed as a driver for the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team.

“It’s a great honor to be picked as one of the drivers at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and IndyCar for the 2019 season,” Ericsson said, as quoted on Planet F1. “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 working 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,” he added. “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.”

Ericsson will partner James Hinchcliffe and will drive the #7 SPM Dallara-Honda car with the team still holding out the #6 car for Robert Wickens, who is recovering from a life-threatening crash he suffered at Pocono last season.

The IndyCar team owner Sam Schmidt was delighted to welcome Ericsson on board and believes his F1 experience will come in handy as he begins to get to grips to a completely different style of motor racing.

“We are excited to welcome Marcus,” team owner Schmidt said. “He has a tonne of experience racing in the top levels of motorsports, so we believe that he will be able to contribute to our development programme 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,” he added.

Meanwhile, IndyCar president and CEO Mark Miles has revealed that they are hopeful Fernando Alonso will again participate in the Indy500 race in 2019 after being unsuccessful in his first attempt in 2017.

The Spanish racer will leave F1 at the end of the 2018 season but made it clear he is not interested in driving a full season in IndyCar. But conquering the Indy500 is high on his list of priorities and it seems possible that he will give it a go again next year.

McLaren and Alonso were linked with an entry into IndyCar in 2019 – after their one of race in 2017, but both the team and the driver have distanced themselves from a full-time entry next season. Miles believes the Woking-based team is working on entering the sport from 2020 with or without Alonso as one of their drivers.

"They're continuing to work on [a full-time team] for '20. [...] I think it's likely they'll have a full-time team in '20, with or without him," Miles said talking about McLaren and Alonso, according to Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern. "We are quite hopeful that Fernando will run the 500 [in '19], and that's a big deal."