Marcus Ericsson hoping for points in sophomore F1 season

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Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson has set his sights on scoring his first points in Formula 1 during his sophomore year in 2015 following a difficult year with Caterham.

The Swedish driver stepped up from GP2 to F1 for 2014 but failed to make much of an impact with the backmarkers. However, he did do enough to secure a seat at Sauber for 2015, and feels that he is in the best place to develop as an F1 driver.

“I am pleased about being a member of the Sauber F1 Team,” Ericsson said. “After a difficult season, we want to move forward and fight in the midfield like the team previously did.

“From a driver’s point of view, I want to continue to learn and establish myself as a Formula 1 driver. I have the feeling of being in the perfect environment to do so.

“In Formula 1 it is difficult to have precise targets, as it depends on the overall package. It is clear that we want to be fighting for points.”

Sauber endured its worst ever season in F1 in 2014, but the team hopes that the newly-launched C34 car can help to turn its fortunes around with Ericsson and teammate Felipe Nasr behind the wheel.

Undoubtedly though, Ericsson does have plenty to prove in his sophomore year. Despite improving across the course of the season, he struggled to match the pace of teammate Kamui Kobayashi and even one-time stand-in Andre Lotterer despite the latter having not driven an F1 car in ten years.

However, as we saw with Valtteri Bottas in 2014, it often takes a year for drivers to find their feet before they can make a serious impact in F1.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.