Chip Ganassi Racing has announced today that Marcus Ericsson will join the team full-time for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series, with the team becoming a three-car outfit once again after two years with just two cars. Ericsson will partner Scott Dixon and his fellow Swede, Felix Rosenqvist, for 2020 after having contested his rookie season with Arrow Schmidt Peterson.
The news today comes after Ericsson’s seat at Arrow Schmidt Peterson came under threat following the team’s partnership with McLaren Racing for next year. Ericsson continually stated that he very much wished to remain in IndyCar beyond his rookie season, but the newly-formed Arrow McLaren Racing SP is thought to have been pursuing another, as yet unnamed, driver to partner James Hinchcliffe.
Despite the disappointment at seemingly losing his seat, the outcome has meant that Ericsson has actually moved up to a more competitive team. Whilst Arrow Schmidt Peterson has consistently proven to be dark horses for race wins in the last few seasons, Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the ‘big three’ teams alongside Team Penske and Andretti Autosport and have frequently challenged for not just wins, but also titles.
In today’s announcement, Ericsson spoke of how proud he felt to be joining Chip Ganassi Racing and his excitement to get working with his new team-mates.
“First of all, I’m extremely happy and proud to get the opportunity to join Chip Ganassi Racing,” Ericsson said today, “It’s a team of winners and their history speaks for itself. I’m very thankful that they believe in me and I will do everything I can to make 2020 another successful year for the team.
“I’m also very excited to work with two of the best drivers in the series in Scott and Felix. I’m looking forward to putting what I’ve learned this year to use in my second year in the NTT IndyCar Series.”
After competing in Formula 1 for five seasons, Ericsson made the switch to race in the NTT IndyCar Series having lost his seat at Alfa Romeo Racing to former champion, Kimi Raikkonen. Ericsson entered IndyCar with relatively low expectations from many, with the Swede having not really shone against his team-mates during those years in Formula 1.
However, Ericsson was quick to showcase his talent in the #7 Honda for Arrow Schmidt Peterson. Marcus had been in the middle of a charge through the field at the second race of the season at the Circuit of the Americas before a penalty would cost him a shot at a potential podium. However, he would stand on the podium later in the season, taking a stunning second place at the second race of the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader.
Marcus quite often would showcase glimpses of decent pace, but he would ultimately end the season with only three top-ten finishes to his name after sixteen race entries. This led to speculation that he could be in with a chance of losing his seat at Arrow Schmidt Peterson, with those chances being increased even further when the team announced a partnership with McLaren Racing for 2020.
Now, however, Ericsson has a big opportunity to continue his growth in the NTT IndyCar Series and to, hopefully, move further up the pecking order. He will drive the #8 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing this year and will be up against his two team-mates, both of whom being very strong drivers in the series at the moment; Five-time series champion, Scott Dixon, and 2019’s rookie of the year, Felix Rosenqvist.
In today’s announcement, team owner, Chip Ganassi, spoke of how he and the team were looking forward to working with Marcus in 2020 and that they hoped his “unique experience” from various championships would make a positive impact on the “overall racing program” at the team.
“I think Marcus brings a lot of unique experience with him having competed in several championships around the world,” Ganassi said today, “When you have someone with that type of background, it gives him other points of reference that helps his ability to develop and add to the overall racing program. We’re looking forward to seeing what Marcus can do alongside Scott and Felix.”
Ericsson will likely drive a Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar for the first time in a test in the next few months or in 2020 pre-season testing in January and February. The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 15.