Prior to 2014, Stefan Johansson had been the last man to represent Sweden in a Formula One race. That mantle has now been passed to Marcus Ericsson, a racer who was not even a year old when Johansson made his 79th and final F1 start at the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix.
Born in the city of Kumla on September 2, 1990, like many of his contemporaries Ericsson cut his racing teeth in karts, quickly accumulating a host of trophies. Then in 2006 he met former Indy 500 winner and compatriot Kenny Brack, who along with fellow Swedish racer Eje Elgh helped him make a highly successful transition to single-seaters – in 2007 Ericsson won the British Formula BMW title at his first attempt with seven race victories.
The following year he graduated to British Formula Three where he finished fifth in the championship behind, among others, future F1 drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sergio Perez. Ericsson stuck with F3 in 2009, but this time switched to the Japanese series. Despite having to adapt to living and racing thousands of miles from home, he stormed to the title with five wins, and his efforts were rewarded with a Brawn GP F1 test at Jerez in Spain later that year.
In 2010 Ericsson moved up to GP2 for what would be the first of four years in the F1 feeder series. Though he scored a reverse grid win in Valencia, it would prove a tough year, with points finishes hard to come by. A change of team in 2011 brought two further podiums and tenth in the standings, but he had to wait until 2012 before tasting victory again in Belgium.
With his blend of speed and experience, Ericsson went into 2013 as one of the favourites for the GP2 crown. Unfortunately, an extremely slow start to the season blunted any title charge, but during a second-half upswing he picked up a win in Germany and four more podiums to grab sixth overall.
The following January, Ericsson was named alongside Kamui Kobayashi as one of Caterham’s 2014 race drivers. Inevitably he was initially outclassed by his highly experienced team mate, but as the year went on he closed the gap, his best finish a creditable 11th in Monaco.
Unfortunately, beset by financial problems, Caterham missed two of the last three 2014 rounds and Ericsson cut his ties with the team, moving instead to Sauber for 2015. Though the senior driver in the Swiss squad, he found himself outperformed by rookie team mate Felipe Nasr, but nevertheless accrued five top-ten results to finish 18th in the standings.
Things would get worse before they got better for Ericsson in 2016. With Sauber facing their own money troubles, the team struggled for form and he failed to score a single point. However, this time he did prove to have the edge on Nasr, and reassured by the arrival of new team owners, he re-signed with them for a third season in 2017.
Source: Formula 1