Marcus Ericsson joins Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for 2019 IndyCar season

Sauber Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson will switch full-time to IndyCar in 2019, after signing a deal to race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Ericsson has raced in Formula 1 since 2014 and has competed for Sauber for the past four years, but the team has recruited Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi as its 2019 pairing.

Ericsson, who will retain his Sauber links through a reserve driver role, will drive the #7 entry to partner multiple race winner James Hinchcliffe.

The #6 is being reserved for Robert Wickens for 'when he wants to and is able to return’, according to the team's statement.

He will become the second Swede on the grid after Felix Rosenqvist was recently announced as a team-mate to five-time series champion Scott Dixon at Chip Ganassi Racing.

“It’s a great honour to be picked as one of the drivers at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and IndyCar for the 2019 season,” said Ericsson.

“It feels like a perfect step for me and my career after five years in F1. I can’t wait to start work with SPM and all the people in the team which I’ve heard a lot of good things about.

"They’ve had some great success over the years, and I’m looking forward to working hard to continue and improve on that path. The racing in IndyCar looks great and I feel really excited to be part of it in the future. It will be a lot to learn including new tracks, oval racing, etc.

"I know it won’t be easy, but it’s a challenge I’m very much looking forward to and I can’t wait to get started.”

SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt added: “Ric (Peterson) and I are excited to welcome Marcus to the team.

“He has a ton of experience racing in the top levels of motorsports, so we believe that he will be able to contribute to our development program that began in earnest in 2018.

"While the circuits on the IndyCar schedule will be brand new to him, particularly the ovals, we have a lot of confidence and trust in his eagerness to learn along with his work ethic.

"We think he and James (Hinchcliffe) will be a good fit to push one another and fight for those wins.”

IndyCar's only official test will take place for two days at the Circuit of the Americas on February 12-13.

The season-opener will be at St. Petersburg on March 10, 2019.