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Marcus Ericsson




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2018 - number of wins:
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Marcus Ericsson


Kumla, Sweden
Kumla, Sweden

Official website:


Marcus Ericsson isn't the first driver to be described as "the next big thing" and he certainly won't be the last.

In Marcus' case, the cry first went out in 1999 when the youngster visited a kart track owned by former CART racer Fredrik Ekblom.

"I got a call from Fredrik, who I ran in British Formula 3000 and Indy Lights," said Richard Dutton, head of Fortec Motorsport. "He now runs a kart circuit and he told me about a nine-year old kid who'd walked in off the street and nearly broke the lap record."

Ekblom subsequently convinced Ericsson's father, Tomas, to buy a kart and as a result the young Swede's career was underway.

Over the next few years he progressed through the ranks, starting off in his native Sweden moving up to Italian and European championships. Winning the Swedish & Nordic ICA Junior Championship in 2005 he also finished third overall in the Italian Open Masters.

In 2006, whilst still karting, Marcus came to the attention of former Champ Car driver and 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack, who was to end up backing the youngster.

"I spotted Marcus at a race in Gothenburg" he revealed, "He didn't win the race because his engine blew up with two laps to go but he was clearly the best out there. He didn't get caught in any battles when passing – he'd just wait for the right opportunity, then he pounced and he was away. He has such patience but when he does go for it, it measures so perfectly. He reminded me of watching Alain Prost."

Brack contacted Dutton at Fortec and persuaded him to run Marcus in the 2007 Formula BMW UK championship. Brack's intuition, and Dutton's blind faith, paid off, Marcus won on his race debut, the youngster going on to take the title with 7 wins, 11 poles and 6 fastest laps. Indeed, he finished in the top five in all the races except two, his feat seeing him crowned Swedish Junior Racing Driver of The Year.

For 2008 he moved up to the British F3 Championship, remaining with Fortec. Prior to the decision he'd tested with Raikkonen Robertson Racing - part of his prize for the BMW UK success - and also with ASM, with a view to contesting the Euroseries.

In many ways it was back down to earth with a bump, the youngster finishing fifth overall, despite claiming wins at Croft and Brands Hatch and a number of podium finishes.

Over the winter he made the decision, as others had done before him, to head to Japan where he would contest the Japanese F3 Championship with TOMS. Taking the title courtesy of 5 wins, 5 poles and 9 fastest laps, Marcus also scored a couple of victories back in the UK with Raikkonen Robertson Racing and 4th in the Macau Grand Prix having taken pole.

Over the winter of 2009/2010 Marcus contested the GP2 Asia Series with ART Grand Prix. While it was later revealed that he would contest the main GP2 Series with Super Nova Racing it was assumed he would see out the Asia version with ART but instead he was dropped for the last two races.

And so in 2010 Marcus began a career in GP2 that over the course of four full seasons, with three different teams, has seen him make little progress and just 3 wins from 86 outings.

Finishing 17th in 2010 he improved to 10th in 2011, 8th in 2012 and 6th in 2013, whilst finishing runner-up in the 2012 GP2 Final.

In December 2009, Marcus got his first taste of F1 when he drove the championship winning Brawn in the Young Driver Test at Jerez. Finishing 9th overall, and marginally out-paced by fellow Brawn tester Mike Conway, Ross Brawn said that Marcus had "performed very well" and "shown exceptional maturity in his approach and feedback".

On 21 January, following days of speculation, Marcus was confirmed as Kamui Kobayashi's teammate at Caterham.

Having finished last in the 2013 Constructors' Championship, one might say that the 2014 drive was something of a poisoned challis, just ask Charles Pic or Giedo Van der Garde. Furthermore, the fact is that Marcus and his backers will have had to pay for the privilege.

A few years back a highly rated driver, albeit in ChampCars (sorry), declared Marcus to be the next big thing, he even went to the expense of putting his money where his mouth was. While there have been some highs, particularly that maiden season in BMW UK, there have also been long periods of nothing.

While Kamui was effectively an old hand in terms of the shenanigans of F1, Marcus was a rookie. And yet, despite the never ending changes at Caterham throughout 2014 he never seemed affected, instead concentrating on the job in hand.

With the package given him he was never going to get the opportunity to do an Alonso - by which we mean his time with Minardi - however, for the most part Marcus simply kept his head down and got on with it.

After all, over the course of the year he witnessed changes of owner, personnel, team boss, teammate and even missed a couple of races, yet for Marcus it was 'business as usual'.

At Monaco, the race where his team broke the record in terms of most races contested without scoring a point, Marcus brought his car home 11th, thereby equalling the outfit's best ever finish.

Despite a number of incidents in practice, only one of his retirements was self-inflicted, though his qualifying performances left a lot to be desired. Being beaten 11-4 by Kobayashi was one thing, but when rookie Andre Lotterer, who hadn't driven an F1 car since 2002, eclipsed him by almost a second in Belgium...

When Caterham missed the United States and Brazil events, clearly seeing the writing on the wall, Marcus ended his contract with the Leafield team and was subsequently recruited by Sauber.

We had hoped that in 2015 we would finally get to see what Marcus can really do, though looking at Sauber's fall from grace in 2014 one had to feel that he was in for more of the same. Furthermore, he was paying for the privilege.

Arriving in Melbourne, the Swiss team was rocked by a legal challenge from Giedo van der Garde who insisted that he had been guaranteed the drive. The matter was subsequently dealt with, the Dutchman apparently paid handsomely for his disappointment though he is unlikely to ever drive in F1 again.

The rest of the weekend was a whole lot better, Nasr putting his car 11th on the grid, despite the team missing the opening practice session - a result of the Van der Garde legal challenge - and Marcus qualifying 16th.

Next day, a superb drive saw Nasr finish fifth, with Marcus a convincing eighth.

Sadly, that was as good as it got. Updates were few and far between and the Swiss team was not even 'best of the rest', rather 'those just ahead of McLaren and Manor'.

As for Marcus, there were further points in China, Hungary, Belgium and Italy, the Swede taking nine points in total, whilst teammate Nasr claimed 27.

Nice guy or not, Marcus appears to be another one of those journeyman midfielders the grid used to be populated with. After all, had it not been for the fact he made his debut in the same season as Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, Nasr might well have been claiming the 'rookie of the year' plaudits.

Retained, along with Nasr, for 2016, and with no significant rule changes, it would be interesting to see if Marcus could raise his game. Of course, the team's well documented financial position didn't help matters, nor did the last minute departure of Technical Director Mark Smith.

Nonetheless, Marcus and his teammate carried on, though a series of crashes hardly endeared the Swede to his crew or the team's accounts department, the incidents in Britain and Hungary requiring total chassis rebuilds.

In Monaco, when Nasr ignored team orders to allow Marcus through the Swede took matters into his own hands, resulting in a ludicrous clash that saw both cars eliminated, this coming just weeks after the pair almost took one another out in Spain.

The mid-season purchase of the team by Longbow Finance had an almost immediate effect, and the updates to the cars that soon followed allowed both drivers to raise their game, if only just a little.

Having out-performed his Brazilian teammate 13-7 in qualifying, for the most part Marcus had the edge on Sundays also and always looked the team's best chance of a points finish.

With Pascal Wehrlein's tenth place finish in Austria, Sauber had slipped to eleventh in the standings and thereby out of the all-important prize money. On a number of occasions Marcus came tantalisingly close to securing the vital points that might help the Swiss team leapfrog its British rivals, but never quite managing to bring home the bacon.

After a couple of near misses, the Swede looked as though he was finally going to end the points drought in Mexico, a race which had witnessed more than its fair share on incidents however, despite his best efforts, which included an ambitious one-stop strategy following a first lap clash, Marcus finished eleventh just outside the points.

In a do or die effort in Brazil, Marcus was among the first to switch to intermediates from the full wets. Unfortunately his plan backfired and he went off into the barriers. Instead it was teammate Nasr who hung on, finally crossing the line to take ninth and two vital points.

With connections to the team's new owners - were the Monaco team orders a hint - it came as no surprise when Marcus was retained for 2017, while points winner Nasr was shown the door. On paper the Swede certainly had the better season, but the reality was he never really grabbed one's attention, never really convinced.

"No matter how well connected the youngster might be, surely 2017 must be his last chance to impress," we opined going into the new season. Fact is, such was the equipment at his disposal even Alonso and Hamilton would have been hard-pressed to achieve much.

Out-qualified 11-7 by Wehrlein and 2-0 by Giovinazzi, it was clear that, compared to 2016 Marcus' one lap pace had improved.

There were a couple of occasions when he came close to breaking his duck but for one reason or another the Swede suffered the ignominy of being the only full-time driver not to score a single point over the course of the entire season. A feat he had managed in 2016 also.

In Baku he was heading for tenth but suffering floor damage and as a result he was ordered to allow Wehrlein through. Again in Mexico he looked likely to be heading for a couple of points only to lose out initially due to poor strategy and then a power unit failure.

On the other hand his retirement in Japan and then Austin a week later was entirely self-inflicted. And then there was Monaco where he somehow managed to crash behind the Safety Car.

His connections saw him retained again for 2018, his fourth season at Hinwil, and while many could not believe he had managed to escape the chop (again), 2018 would see him face his toughest test yet.

With the latest-spec Ferrari engine at his disposal, not to mention the backing of Alfa Romeo and the arrival of the likes of Jorg Zander, Marcus would finally have a car with which he could prove himself. However, with a teammate in the form of Charles Leclerc we also had a true benchmark by which to measure him.

And what a benchmark it was... though to be fair to Marcus, under the circumstances he didn't do too badly. After all, if Leclerc proves to be the genius many believe him to be, to out-qualify him four times, and achieve your best ever points haul in the process, is no mean feat.

Indeed, it was the Swede who opened the team's 2018 points account by claiming ninth in Bahrain, though Leclerc's sixth in Azerbaijan a few weeks later somewhat put this in the shade.

Over the winter, with cash courtesy of its new title sponsor, Sauber had made significant improvements, as had Marcus, who had spent much (more) time in the gym in order that he wasn't compromised further by his height.

For the most part, Marcus had little answer for his talented teammate and appeared to accept this. However, there was a phase mid-season when his performances smacked of over-ambition, the Swede making unnecessary errors which resulted in heavy crashes in Canada and Britain.

Days after it was revealed that Marcus had lost his (2019) seat to Antonio Giovinazzi, he crashed again, this time at Suzuka, though he subsequently scored points in Austin and Mexico.

Though handed a third driver and 'ambassadorial' role with Sauber for 2019, Marcus has opted to head across the pond to contest IndyCar with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

A nice enough guy, but ignoring the old (untrue) adage about nice guys not winning, the fact is that Marcus had five seasons – 97 races - in which to prove himself, which is a lot more than some drivers have had.

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