IndyCar rookie Ericsson sets bold personal target for 2019


As a newcomer, Marcus Ericsson will be up against some tough competition in IndyCar this season, but that isn't keeping the former Sauber driver from setting himself a big personal goal for 2019.

Ericsson has entered the thick of his preparations for his maiden season of racing in America, the Swede running in two pre-season tests at Sebring with the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team.

While he still has a lot to learn, Ericsson felt his recent baptism of fire in Florida had been a positive one where he gained a lot of knowledge about his new team and environment.

"My second test was very good, building on the experience I got in December," he told

"It was mostly about going through different setups again, to try a lot of different things before we go to St. Pete.

"I’m trying to build up a reference about what each change does to the car and its handling balance.

"That’s the basic idea – for me to have a reference in my head and also for the team to have a reference for how I react to the setup changes, and what I tend to like and not like.

"We went through a lot of different things," he added.

"And of course there’s the driving, the basics. Every lap I’m learning more about an IndyCar, because it’s not an easy car to learn. It’s tough to get your head around it and know how to use it in the best possible way.

"But in the last one-and-a-half hours I was really starting to get into the groove, and we had a really good end to the test. I left there with a really good feeling."

Ericsson will be paired this season with the experienced James Hinchcliffe at SPM, and the two men hit it off from the get-go.

"I think it was a very positive surprise that we both give feedback that’s similar and what we want from the car is very similar," said Ericsson.

"That’s going to be great as we go forward into the season because practice sessions are so short.

"We can try different things and if James finds something that works for him, I know it will probably work for me and the same the other way round. That will speed up the process of creating good setups."

It's obviously early days for Ericsson, and any projections are tentative, but the 28-year-old has already set his personal target for 2019.

"Winning a race is the goal for sure; it has to be," he said boldly.

"have huge respect for the top guys in this series who have been here a long time, and have experience racing on these types of tracks in this type of car. So I know it will be a big challenge for me.

"But I have a great team behind me and with Arrow stepping up their involvement, that will help the team make another step, so I really feel we have that possibility to win.

"Anyway, I think you always have to aim high in order to achieve something and I’ve set that personal goal – to win a race this year and fight as much as I can up front. It’s a tough target but it’s achievable, I think."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter