Daly to race for Arrow SPM in Portland, Ericsson summoned to Spa by Alfa Romeo

by Jordan Groves

Arrow Schmidt Peterson has announced today that Conor Daly will drive their #7 Honda in this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Series race at Portland International Raceway. Daly will drive in the place of the team’s regular driver, Marcus Ericsson, who has been summoned by Alfa Romeo Racing to be at Spa Francorchamps in case he needs to substitute one of their drivers for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The news broke on its own without any official comment early this morning when Ericsson, who is still under contract with Alfa Romeo Racing as a test and reserve driver – was seen arriving at Spa Francorchamps, despite there also being an NTT IndyCar Series race this weekend.

Following that, Arrow Schmidt Peterson released a statement on Twitter confirming that Ericsson would not be racing for them this weekend at Portland. The statement also confirmed at American driver, Conor Daly would be stepping into Ericsson’s Honda for this weekend.

“Following a request from Alfa Romeo Racing for Marcus Ericsson to be on the ground at this weekend’s Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has granted Marcus a release from his driving duties for the NTT IndyCar Series race weekend in Portland. Conor Daly will pilot the No. 7 Arrow SPM Honda at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland.”

Daly’s substitute duties for Arrow SPM will mark his return to the team after having previously raced with them part-time in 2015. It will also be the third different team he has raced for this season so far, having also raced for Andretti Autosport and Carlin.

“I look forward to fulfilling the substitute roll again this weekend, this time for Arrow Schmidt Peterson!” Daly posted on Twitter today.

“I lead my first laps in IndyCar back in 2015 while piloting the #5 car. We will miss you Marcus [Ericsson], I will do my best to keep the #7 at the front!”

Daly secured the best finish of his part-time 2019 schedule so far in last weekend’s crazy Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park, taking Carlin to an unlikely sixth-place whilst battling with drivers from Team Penske and Andretti Autosport in the process. The American believed he had been on course to take a podium finish, but now he will have a chance to do that for Arrow Schmidt Peterson. He will be hoping for another strong showing to increase his chances of landing a seat on the 2020 grid, perhaps with Arrow SPM in their new partnership with McLaren Racing.

Ericsson, meanwhile, could potentially have an opportunity to race this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. His summons from Alfa Romeo comes after the news that Kimi Raikkonen is not at peak fitness after he pulled a muscle in his left leg. The 2007 world champion believes that he will be okay to race but will not know for certain until tomorrow’s practice sessions.

Additionally, it is believed that Ericsson could shortly be back behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo in the place of Antonio Giovinazzi. Rumours are circulating that the Italian is under pressure to perform at Spa and at his home race at Monza next weekend or he will face being replaced by Ericsson.

If Ericsson is called back to race for Sauber for the remaining races of the season, Arrow Schmidt Peterson will need to find another driver to substitute for the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, as the race will clash with Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Conor Daly will also be unavailable as he is scheduled to race at Laguna Seca for Andretti Autosport. A possible replacement for Arrow Schmidt Peterson, should they need one at Laguna Seca, could come in the form of Felipe Nasr. The Brazilian tested for the team at Mid-Ohio earlier this year and will have taken part in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Laguna Seca a week prior to the IndyCar finale next month.

Both the NTT IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Portland and the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix will take place this Sunday, September 1.

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