Ericsson discusses differences in driving an IndyCar to a Formula 1 car

by Jordan Groves
Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Arrow Schmidt Peterson, 2019 NTT IndyCar Series, Circuit of the Americas test

Arrow Schmidt Peterson driver Marcus Ericsson has stated that driving an IndyCar is “impressive but in a different way” compared to driving a Formula 1 car. The Swedish driver took part in the first day of 2019 NTT IndyCar Series pre-season-testing at the Circuit of the Americas yesterday and was able to directly compare the experience of driving an IndyCar to that of driving a Formula 1 car at the Texan track.

In an interview with Marshall Pruett for RACER on YouTube, Ericsson said that his #7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda IndyCar moved around more than his Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula 1 car used to. He went on to say that, no matter what car, the Circuit of the Americas remained a “really enjoyable” track to drive.

“It is a very different feeling, for sure.” Ericsson told RACER yesterday, “There’s a lot less downforce in the IndyCar. But, what it does is that it makes the car move around a lot more, so you have to work really hard to drive.

“It’s just impressive in a different way compared to the F1 [car]. F1 is so safe and perfect in the high-speed stuff. Whereas, this IndyCar you need to really wrestle in the high-speed stuff like the esses. It’s a very different type of driving, but I have to say both in a Formula 1 car and in an IndyCar, it’s an amazing track to drive and it’s really enjoyable for us drivers.”

Ericsson went on to tell RACER about the changes in physical demands from IndyCar to Formula One. Marcus stated that he didn’t feel any new pain in his neck, but that he had noticed further strain on his arms due to the lack of driver aids such as power steering in IndyCar; something that Formula 1 drivers do not have to worry about.

“The neck [ache] I don’t feel because we have so much G-force in Formula 1 these days, so I’m very much used to that.” Ericsson said, “But, for sure, the arms, hands and wrists you have to work a lot more, especially on a track like this where you have a lot of high-speed content and sweeping corners which go into each other.”

“It is quite physical, but that’s how it should be when racing a car like this.”

Ericsson ended the first day of pre-season testing at COTA with the eleventh-fastest time after completing fifty-one laps of the circuit. He was one position and less than a tenth of a second faster than his team-mate James Hinchcliffe.

The Swede will be back out on track later today for the final day of the COTA “spring training” test. Ericsson went on to explain to RACER that pre-season testing, for him, was all about acclimatising to his new surroundings so that he can be as prepared as possible for his first race, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, next month.

“It’s all a learning process, to be honest.” Ericsson explained, “For me, it’s a new category, a new car, a new team and everything. Every session, every lap I’ve done, is a learning process.

“It’s getting better and better, I’m feeling more and more comfortable. I’m lucky to have such a good team, SPM, behind me to help me. It’s all about that, these two days, just continuing that preparation for St. Pete later in March.”

The second and final day of the COTA pre-season test will get underway later this afternoon. The on-track action will be live-streamed on IndyCar’s social media channels.

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 10.

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