Marcus Ericsson: IndyCar learning process deeper than expected
Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Marcus Ericsson has said he has found the learning process in the NTT IndyCar Series has been much deeper than he expected.
Ericsson claimed his first podium at the second race of the 'Dual in Detroit' in just his eighth IndyCar race, the first for a Swedish driver since Kenny Brack in the Indy Japan 300 at Motegi in 2013.
He lost out on an earlier podium shot at the IndyCar Classic thanks to an unsafe release, and a possible top 10 finish fell apart after an unlucky crash on the entrance to pit lane during his first oval at the Indianapolis 500.
The Swede admitted he has found the series tougher than expected following his switch from Formula 1.
"I think I came into this year with a lot of experience," said Ericsson. "My goal and expectation was to run up front from the start. I think we had the pace to do it, but it's been a bit of a deeper learning process than maybe I expected.
"I didn't underestimate the series, but it is a very tough series, it's a lot of experienced guys in the series that are incredible drivers and also teams. That's been a sort of process for me to get used to all that, get used to the tyres, the cars. Everything is quite different."
Ericsson also pointed out how critical every aspect of performance has now become due to the close level of competition within the IndyCar series, and what it would cost should a mistake be made.
"It's tough," he added. "That's the thing with IndyCar that I've learned this year.
"Even if you're fast, that doesn't mean you will get a good result. In many other series, if you have the pace, you always sort of tend to get to the front for different reasons.
"Here in IndyCar, it's so close, the competition between P1 and P22 or 24 is a second. That means you have so many moments in a race where you need to execute well.
"You need to make the pit stops and right strategy calls. The pit crew needs to do their job right. Out laps on cold tires, restarts, all these things.
"It's such a complex and difficult series. I think that's something I learned this year. Today was definitely like that. So much going on. A lot of restarts.
"Yeah, it was a difficult one. That's why it makes me even more happy that we actually executed the way we did. I think we did everything right."