Birthplace: Kumla, Sweden
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Marcus Ericsson was still a teenager when he won Japan’s Formula Three championship in 2009. He went into the final round behind TOM’s team mate Takuto Iguchi in the standings but clinched the title with his fifth win of the season after Iguchi spun out.
It was the second championship victory in three years for the driver, backed by fellow Swede and former IndyCar racer Kenny Brack. After graduating from karts in 2007 he won the British Formula BMW championship at his first attempt. Ericsson spent most of the year at the head of the points table and won the last four races.
He made a promising start to his GP2 career with Super Nova in 2010. He benefitted from a pair of first-lap crashes in the feature race at Valencia to finish seventh having started last. That put him on the front row of the grid for the sprint race which he duly won.
But he only took one more points finish that year and ended the season 17th overall. After moving to iSport he figured more regularly in the points, despite a few run-ins with team mate Sam Bird, and finished the season in tenth place.
His second season with iSport was a considerable improvement – he finally scored a follow-up victory at Spa, over two years since his first win – which began a consistent run of strong finishes at the end of the season.
For 2013 he joined DAMS, with whom Davide Valsecchi and Romain Grosjean had won the previous two championships. But Ericsson’s year began dreadfully and after ten races had just nine points, eight of which were for his two pole positions.
He got his championship back on track with a victory the next time out at the Nurburgring, and from then on figured much more often in the battle for podium positions. Having been 20th in the championship after race nine, he recovered to sixth at the end of the year.
Ericsson was picked up by Caterham who handed him an F1 seat for the following season, making him the first Swede in F1 in 23 years.
Ericsson had little opportunity to impress at the wheel of Caterham’s slow and unreliable CT05. Not unsurprisingly given the car’s poor handling, the beginning of his first season was punctuated with spins and crashes.
The team was in trouble off the track as well, and at mid-season they were put up for sale by Tony Fernandes. The new owners pursued a more straightforward approach with the car’s set-up which initially seemed to suit Ericsson better, and his performance improved.
However following the Russian Grand Prix a shortage of funds forced the team out of F1 altogether. Although they later returned for the final race of the season, by then Ericsson had already agreed terms to drive for Sauber the following year, and did not return to Caterham.
Ericsson was reunited with former GP2 rival Felipe Nasr at Sauber. Although the team had moved on from its point-less 2014 campaign it lagged behind on updates to its Ferrari engine and a lack of aerodynamic development meant the car made little progress over the 19 races.
Both drivers scored their best results in the first race of the season. Ericsson was eighth, three places behind his team mate. He might have done better the next time out in Malaysia after qualifying a season-best ninth, but he spun out early on.
Ericsson made amends with another point in China but again Nasr brought home more points. And the opposition were improving: Ericsson didn’t add to his score again until Hungary, which proved the start of a three-race run of top ten finishes which marked the end of his points-scoring.
Although his second season (and first full F1 campaign) gave Ericsson more opportunities to demonstrate his credentials to race at the top flight – notably when racing wheel-to-wheel with Felipe Massa in Canada – it was a campaign short of highlights. He kept his place at the team for another season but did not shake off the impression that it was at least as much to do with his income as his ability.
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