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Ericsson: Missing IndyCar for F1 back-up role "not optimal"

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Ericsson: Missing IndyCar for F1 back-up role "not optimal"
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Sep 3, 2019, 10:07 AM

Alfa Romeo Formula 1 reserve driver Marcus Ericsson admits his unused substitute appearance at the Belgian Grand Prix left him disappointed, calling his absence from the Portland IndyCar round “not optimal”.

Ericsson missed the penultimate IndyCar race of the season after being released by his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team to fulfil his reserve-driver role for Alfa at Spa. 

Kimi Raikkonen had a leg injury but ultimately took part in the whole Belgian GP weekend, while Conor Daly deputised for the sidelined Ericsson at SPM.

Ericsson told Swedish broadcaster Viasat that at the start of the week Raikkonen’s situation appeared worse than it proved to be by the time they got to Spa. 

When it was put to Ericsson that it must sting a little to miss one of the two final races of his rookie IndyCar season, he replied: “Of course it does. 

“I’m racing for a new contract there for next year and, of course, every time you get to race its an opportunity to show them what you’re made of.

“So of course its not optimal, but there was such a real chance of me racing this weekend that the decision was made for me to be [at Spa]. 

“Both Kimi and the team agreed that it was very uncertain that he was going to be able to race. 
“It’s not the optimum situation for me, but that’s the case sometimes.”

Ericsson said that he was brought in as an “emergency” but admitted the fact it was not announced before Thursday at the Belgian GP complicated the situation. 

“[It] resulted in a few question marks and it came out in a weird way,” said Ericsson. “It was a bit of a special week, thats for sure.”

Ericsson said he will return to his IndyCar seat for this month's Laguna Seca season finale but will also attend more F1 races with Alfa this season.

He is keen to stay in IndyCar next season but his future at SPM is uncertain after its McLaren deal, which has confirmed it is retaining James Hinchcliffe.

Team owner Sam Schmidt said Ericsson is “absolutely in the mix” to keep his drive and believes the Swede could “do amazingly well with a season of experience”. 

Ericsson added: “I’m not sure how close that is, but I know there is interest from many teams.

We are still in talks with my current team so there are definitely some good opportunities, but before anything is a done deal you don’t know. It feels like there is enough interest for there to be a hopeful situation ahead of 2020.”

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Marcus Ericsson, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

Marcus Ericsson, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / LAT Images

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