Who is Marcus Ericsson? Introducing Caterham's new Swedish recruit

23-year-old graduates from GP2 and will partner Kamui Kobayshi

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 21/01/14 5:54pm

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Marcus Ericsson makes a surprise step up to Formula 1 with Caterham this season, despite a disappointing 2013 with DAMS in GP2.

The 23-year-old Swede was born on 2 September 1990 in Kumla, Orebro County and got his first taste of motorsport in 1999 when he entered the Swedish kart series Cadetti, taking six podiums in seven races.

He continued in karts until the end of 2006 when he met former IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack and former Swedish Formula 1 driver Eje Elgh, who offered to help him graduate to single-seaters. With Brack and Elgh's backing, it wasn't long until Ericsson was testing a Formula BMW car.

The Swede made the move to Formula BMW UK in 2007 and made an immediate impact with the renowned Fortec squad as he took pole position for only his second race, which he duly converted to a maiden win. As he got used to the car, Ericsson really began to show his pace as the season progressed taking pole for ten of the final 11 races and a further six victories as he took the title.

Marcus Ericsson: Got his first taste of single-seater action in Formula BMW UK

Staying with Fortec, Ericsson moved to British F3 in 2008 which boasted a number of future F1 drivers. The Swede finished fifth in the championship behind Jamie Alguersuari (ex-Toro Rosso), Oliver Turvey (McLaren test driver), Brendon Hartley (ex-Toro Rosso, Red Bull and Mercedes test driver) and Sergio Perez (Force India) and he was comfortably the top Fortec driver.

Ericsson factfile

  • Age: 23
  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Titles: 2007 Formula BMW UK; 2009 Japanese F3
  • F1 experience: 2009 Young Driver Test with Brawn GP
  • 2013: 6th in GP2 with DAMS

2009 brought another championship change and another title for Ericsson as he clinched the Japanese F3 crown. Despite the upheaval of moving thousands of miles and changing teams, the Swede took pole and set the fastest lap for the opening race at Fuji and he would take five wins and a further six podiums on his way to the title.

That winter Ericsson got his first taste of F1 in the young drivers' test at Jerez when he got behind the wheel of the Drivers' and Constructors' Championship-winning Brawn GP car. "Marcus had his first opportunity in a Formula 1 car this week and he has performed very well showing exceptional maturity in his approach and feedback," Team Principal Ross Brawn said at the time.

Marcus Ericsson: Tested for Brawn in 2009

Ericsson graduated to GP2 in 2010 (via a two rounds in the Asia Series) with Super Nova Racing, but there would be little to celebrate in a difficult year for the Swede. He took his maiden win in the reverse grid race in Valencia, but would only score points on two other occasions in the 20-race calendar as he finished 17th in the standings.

The Swede moved to iSport International for the 2011 series taking two podium finishes on his way to tenth in the championship. He remained with the team the following season returning to the top step of the podium in the feature race at Spa-Francorchamps, taking four further podiums.

Ericsson moved to DAMS for 2013, who had won the 2011 and 2012 titles with Romain Grosjean and Davide Valsecchi respectively, and thus headed into the GP2 season as one of the title favourites. The first part of the season was a disaster, however, as he failed to break into the top ten in any of the opening nine races. Having picked up his first point of the season in the Silverstone sprint race, Ericsson returned to the top step of the rostrum in Germany and took a further four podiums in the remainder of the season as he finished sixth overall.

Confirmation of his promotion to the F1 grid was announced in January 2014, with the Swede one of three rookies in the field for the new season. He will be partnered by Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham.

Marcus Ericsson drove for DAMS in 2013

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