Andretti fails to announce a key detail after confirming Ericsson for 2024

Andretti fails to announce a key detail after confirming Ericsson for 2024

Marcus Ericsson’s confirmation with Andretti Autosport for the 2024 IndyCar season made the news that everyone had been waiting for official. However, a crucial detail was missing.

Marcus Ericsson’s tenure with Chip Ganassi Racing, which is notable for having included a victory in the 2022 Indy 500, had been widely believed to be coming to a conclusion at the end of the 2023 IndyCar season for the past several weeks.

Andretti Autosport has now confirmed that Ericsson will join the team in 2024, effectively ending his four-year tenure with Chip Ganassi Racing. This news comes amid rumors that Linus Lundqvist will take over driving the No. 8 Honda next season.

With three races left on the 17-race schedule for 2023, Ericsson, who placed sixth in the championship standings in both 2021 and 2022, remains in the same position currently. Only four drivers over the past three seasons have claimed at least one race victory, including him.

After claiming his first victory on the streets of Belle Isle in June 2021, the 32-year-old Swede has been among the grid’s most consistent drivers, finishing lower than 11th for just five times.

Andretti Autosport hasn’t had enough of such consistency and steadiness over the past few seasons. The No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Racing Honda, one of Michael Andretti’s entries, has only achieved one top-eleven result since the 2020 season ending race.

However, the car Marcus Ericsson will drive in the 2024 IndyCar season is yet unknown, and that might be a major issue. It seems reasonable for Ericsson to take over the No. 29 Honda since everyone is aware that Devlin DeFrancesco won’t be driving it again in 2023.

Nevertheless, that was not explicitly stated in Andretti Autosport’s release, so Ericsson could theoretically also drive the No. 28 Honda.

Romain Grosjean’s contract extension was originally thought to be a matter of when, not if, but a recent run of eight consecutive outside-the-top-10 results and a fall from fourth to 12th in the championship standings have some people thinking he too may be leaving.

Ericsson’s official confirmation causes problems for his fellow former Formula 1 driver David Malukas, who is still widely believed to be Andretti Autosport’s fourth driver for the upcoming season.

Given that victory lane has not been the Andretti’s title sponsor since 2018, the fact that sponsorship was not disclosed as a part of Ericsson’s agreement may also be relevant given speculations that DHL may cancel their 13-year association with the team.

Longtime Ericsson sponsor Finn Rausing was rumored to be done providing sponsorship beyond the 2023 season, which is one of the key reasons Chip Ganassi Racing and Ericsson found themselves in the situation they had.

While Chip Ganassi apparently wanted his only Indy 500 winner in the previous 11 years to continue bringing funding as a pay driver, Ericsson reportedly felt that he deserved to be paid like a top driver.

Although it is reported that Chip Ganassi Racing offered Ericsson a contract extension, it is unclear whether the damage has already been done or whether the offer was even worthwhile of Ericsson’s consideration.

Andretti Autosport’s statement in the press announcement that “more information on Ericsson’s 2024 entry, including car number and partners, will be provided at a later time” suggests that a choice regarding Grosjean’s future will be made in weeks to come.

The confirmation of Ericsson has no bearing on Malukas’ plans for 2024, as he declared himself, so a switch to Andretti Autosport is still a strong possibility. Malukas will likely make a declaration about his future when the current season is over.

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