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F1 2015 Driver Review: Marcus Ericsson

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Marcus Ericsson

Team: Sauber F1 Team
Car No.: 9
Races: 19
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 8th (Australia)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 9
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 18th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

In Formula 1, you can put the drivers into set ‘groups’: the superstars (Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso); the up-and-comers (Bottas, Ricciardo, Kvyat etc.); the nearlymen (Hulkenberg, Grosjean).

When you get towards the back of the field, there is a group of drivers that could easily be swapped with a number of different drivers from series such as GP2, IndyCar or the WEC who could probably do just as good a job. Marcus Ericsson is the driver in F1 that fits this group best.

Ericsson started the season very well by scoring his first points in Australia, and looked capable of picking up points in Malaysia after good qualifying and a strong start before spinning out thanks to an error. He impressed at Monza, but was largely anonymous for much of the year, battling towards the back.

Sure, 2015 was better for Ericsson, but with so many youngsters burgeoning to break onto the grid, it’s hard to see what kind of future the Swede has in the sport unless 2016 presents a drastic change in fortunes.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

The most I really paid attention to Ericsson’s season, in all honesty, came prior to the opening round in Melbourne when Giedo van der Garde had his legal actions against the Sauber team to try to claim his place for a drive. Once it became apparent the Dutchman wasn’t going to be racing, Ericsson had his second season after all, which was largely anonymous.

Good on him for scoring points at the handful of opportunities he had, but rarely if ever was there a race where I watched and thought Ericsson was worth paying much attention.

He seems decent but doesn’t really ever seem the type whose performance is going to get him noticed by the bigger teams. We don’t really have perennial midfielders in F1 much anymore, but Ericsson in that sense is something of a throwback to the mid-‘90s or early-2000s where he’s consistently there, but never in a starring role.

 

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”