Ericsson: Consistency in an IndyCar is “biggest issue”
Ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson says that putting strong sectors together for a complete flying lap is the area where he most needs to improve his IndyCar performance.
The 28-year-old Swede turned 47 laps in the abbreviated test at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday, the fastest of which, his 34th, was 1.1sec off Max Chilton’s session-topping lap time. It was, however, within half a second of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate James Hinchcliffe’s best.
Unfortunately, the validity of the times remains under question due to rivals being uncertain who was experimenting with push-to-pass boost – worth approximately 0.3-0.4sec around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile course.
Ericsson was impressed with Laguna Seca following his first encounter with any American track outside of the Sebring short course, and of course the Circuit of The Americas on which he competed five times in Formula 1.
He told Motorsport.com: “I didn’t do any simulator work on this place, so it’s all new to me. And it’s fun – a proper old-school track, gravel runoff areas everywhere so you have to keep yourself in line.
“There’s lots of high-speed content in there which I enjoy. It’s a good track.”
He did, however, offer a harsh critique of his own efforts. Asked where he felt he needed to make up time, he replied: “It’s a bit of a mix.
“For me, the biggest issue is consistency. The IndyCar is tricky to drive, difficult compared with a Formula 1 car which is so planted to the ground. This car moves around a lot.
“So my biggest challenge now is to understand that and deal with that. At the moment I’m hooking up different corners well from lap to lap, but I struggle to get my best from all the corners in the same lap.
“I might get two or three corners just right and then do worse on the next two or three. Then the next lap, I’ll improve the ones I struggled with, but lose time on the ones where I was good.
“So I’m working with the team to improve that consistency to help me get up to speed better.”
Laguna Seca’s famous Corkscrew corner (officially Turn 8 and 8A) sees the cars brake hard at the top of a hill, and then turn in blind for the left hander which swiftly turns to the right and sees the cars tumble 60 feet on the way down to the fast-lefthander at Turn 9.
In the 4.5 hours of running on Friday, the 21 drivers in the test experimented with a variety of different lines through there, and Ericsson admitted he wasn’t sure he’d found the swiftest route.
“No, I don’t think I’ve found the best way through – not for me, anyway,” he said. “Actually, on one of my best laps up to that point, I tried a different line through there and it just didn’t work. It’s tricky because the rest of the track is in a certain rhythm and then you get to the Corkscrew and you have to almost stop the car before you go down the hill. It’s a fun corner but it’s strange – very different to the rest of the track.”
The high-speed Turn 9, he said, hadn’t given him issues G force wise, but was instead one that challenged his car control.
“For sure there’s G-force through there, but I don’t feel it on my neck. I mean it’s been cold so there’s less grip anyway but anyway, it’s quite a bit less G than I’m used to in a Formula 1 car.
“But it is tough to drive these cars through Turn 9 because the steering is so heavy and the car is moving around so you have to make lots of corrections. You’re working hard through there – it’s just a different type of tough.”
Marcus Ericsson, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Photo by: IndyCar Series
Chilton leads morning IndyCar test session at Laguna Seca
Gallery: IndyCar testing at Laguna Seca