Even though the Indycar series is on a long winter break, there are still happenings with the drivers ahead of the 2019 season.
A big part of the drivers will actually continue in the same car, but there are new faces as well. We will have a closer look at the current stands of line-ups on 29 November 2018.
We will look at the teams in alphabetical order.
A. J. Foyt Enterprises – Matheus Leist and Tony Kanaan will race for them for the second season in a row. The team races with a Chevrolet engine.
Andretti Autosport – Zach Veach, Ryan Hunter-Reay and this seasons title contender, Alexander Rossi. Marco Andretti will be driving for the satellite team Andretti Herta Autosport, but has become a share holder of that car himself. The team races with a Honda engine.
Carlin – Max Chilton is the only driver confirmed so far, but there are still an chance of Charlie Kimball returning. The team is definitely a place for pay drivers, so a second and potential third driver will be pay drivers, since that is the concept behind Carlin, no matter if it’s Indycar, Indy Lights, Formel 3 or whereever the team races. But they are still a quality outfit, but with just one season of experience in Indycar. The team will use Chevrolet power.
Chip Ganassi Racing – That is the first change. 2018 Champion Scott Dixon signed a new contract with the team earlier this year, but will be joined by Felix Rosenqvist. The team will surely go for both the overall title with Dixon, and the Rookie Championship with Rosenqvist. The team are sure that the Swede is just a fast as Robert Wickens was in 2018. The team will race with Honda again.
Dale Coyne Racing – Sebastien Bourdais will be there once again, while Santino Ferrucci is being upgraded to a full season drive. Ferrucci brings a lot of money to the team, which is something that Dale Coyne always appreciates, for the teams second car. Even though Ferrucci is Rookie, we don’t expect him to challenge for the rookie title – that was already proven with his 2018 entries. The team will continue to use Honda power.
Ed Carpenter Racing – 33% new blood in the shape of Ed Jones, who joins the team from Chip Ganassi Racing. He will share the car with team owner Ed Carpenter, who will do all the oval rounds, except Indy 500, where they will enter a third car in collaboration with Scuderia Corsa for Jones. Spencer Pigot will get to keep #21 for himself, for the second year in row. A Chevrolet engine will be places in each of the team’s cars.
Harding Steinbrenner Racing – yes, there is a name change. Hank Steinbrenner has become shareholder of the team, when the money became a bit tight towards the end of their debut season in 2018. The team will work together with Andretti Autosport, where they can get some knowledge from their 4 drivers. Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta got a debut for the team and in the Indycar series, at the season finale in 2018, and will be racing the two cars throughout the 2019 season. The engine choice is yet to be revealed, but Honda engines is expected to be the ones, since it would make sense to use exactly the same as the “mother ship”, to compare set-ups.
Juncos Racing – still no driver signed, but that will be drivers with budget – maybe with a slight discount if they are from South America and especially Argentina, where team owner Ricardo Juncos is from. He is similar to Carlin, and runs it as a business, where he doesn’t bring any money himself. They will once again drive with Chevrolet engines.
McLaren Racing – that is the first Indianapolis 500 only team in May. Fernando Alonso will try to qualify the car. There are still a lack of details about the programme, regarding engine choice, or if Alonso will have an experienced team mate – which could be an Oriol Servia, but neither him nor the team has confirmed any contacts. They teamed up with Andretti Autosport, when they raced in 2017, but it’s still unknown if that will the case in 2019 too.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato once again. Jordan King will race a third car at the Indy 500. It’s no surprise to anybody that the engine supplier is Honda, when Sato is in the car…
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – James Hinchcliffe is almost set in stone at the team by now, while Marcus Ericsson is the new driver in the team. This will be Hinchcliffe’s fifth season for the team, where the greatest triumph probably was the Indy 500 Pole in 2016. The classic oval has been the low point for the team twice, where Hinchcliffe had a serious accident in 2015, which cost him the rest of the season. He didn’t qualify for the 2018 edition of the race, because he was simply too slow. Ericsson arrives to Indycar from Formula 1, where he has raced for 5 seasons. The Swede has shown good pace at times, but it has hard to judge him in Formula 1, since he has only raced for some minor teams, and was often beaten by his teammates. But no doubt that five seasons of Formula 1 experience in the bag will have some kind of impact, so he might very well be the toughest competitor to his fellow Swede Rosenqvist regarding the Rookie title. They will be joined by Jack Harvey in the satellite car at Meyer Shank Racing at 10 out of 17 rounds. 3 times Honda engines for them.
Team Penske – business as usual. 2014 Champion Will Power, 2016 Champ Simon Pagenaud, 2017 Champ Josef Newgarden will be joined by close-but-no-quite Champion in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016 Helio Castroneves. The latter will only be doing the Indy 500 race, with the chance of the Indy Grand Prix too, which is run on the infield, 14 days prior to the big race on the oval. They will once again race with Chevrolet engines.
There is still a chance of more cars in the 2019 season, and especially the Indy 500 race, but we will know a lot more in the coming months.