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2014 Indycar teams and drivers

This topic contains 48 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of SP SP 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #133903
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Penske (Chevrolet): Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Will Power

    Ganassi (Chevrolet): Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe, Charlie Kimball

    Andretti Autosport (Honda): Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz

    Bryan Herta Autosport (TBA): 1-2 cars – leading candidates rumoured to be Luca Filippi and John “JR” Hildebrand.

    Dale Coyne (Honda): Justin Wilson, 2nd driver unannounced. Several drivers including Sam Bird, James Jakes and Simona de Silvestro rumoured to be contention for the second seat

    Dreyer & Reinbold (TBA): 1 car – last ran Oriol Servia in the 2013 Indy 500

    AJ Foyt Enterprises (Honda): Takuma Sato

    Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevrolet): Mike Conway (road and street courses), Ed Carpenter (ovals)

    KV Racing Technology (Chevrolet): Sebastien Bourdais, unannounced 2nd driver – Alex Tagliani, and Oriol Servia said to be on the shortlist among others

    Panther (TBA): 1-2 cars – expected to take a pay driver (eg James Jakes) after losing a sponsor

    Rahal-Letterman (Honda): Graham Rahal, unannounced 2nd driver.

    Fisher-Hartman (Honda): Josef Newgarden

    Schmidt (Honda): Simon Pagenaud, Mikhail Aleshin

    #245171
    Avatar of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    In retrospect, signing Tony Kanaan was a good move by Chip Ganassi, as it now covers the loss of Franchitti to leave them with two champions still in the team (3 would have been even better admittedly).

    Would anyone not claim that Dixon is now the best driver on the grid to challenge Franchitti’s title haul next year/pass it? Or will Penske or Andretti come on strong and put up a huge title fight? The return of Montoya has to be the kick in the backside that the series needs to get itself shipshape – it’s mouth-watering to see how he will get on back in an IndyCar.

    I read some speculation recently on IndyCar seats for next year (not sure where but something like ESPN or an IndyCar related article), and it seems that money plays an even more important role than for F1, so there’ll be some drivers missing out while others step in and maybe some teams will struggle to get by, even with money coming in from drivers. Luca Filippi seems hopeful of a drive though next year (he deserves a shot for sure).

    Same with Sage Karam, Indy Lights champion – any idea if he can get a drive? Very impressed by him since I saw his Star Mazda videos on YouTube – stuff like carving through the field, and his avoidance action at Montreal told me instantly that this guy was going to go far. Definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it, the embodiment of lightning fast reactions taking hold in a carnage situation. He has some budget from winning the title I believe, but if drivers with money still can’t get a ride then that says it all about how hard it is for the teams to survive/run cars in the series.

    #245172
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    It’s very early in the silly season, we’ll have a better picture of the full grid in February. Dale Coyne sometimes leaves it later than that. Mid-season changes are not uncommon either (for example, Tagliani being replaced by Hildebrand and Filippi).

    Not sure where you read the money discussion, but all of the rookies (and most of the regulars) in the 2013 season were paid drivers. Sure, there are some ride buyers, Kimball and Sato are confirmed so far – but the budgets don’t approach F1 levels. The aforementioned drivers were regular winners in British Formula 3 so they’re no hacks. Even Dale Coyne chose to put Mike Conway in the car when he was available rather than a random ride buyer. Dreyer & Reinbold opted to step back for 2013 rather than pick up anonymous ride buyer #123 because they preferred running Servia.

    To illustrate my point:

    Foyt – http://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/satotakuma640.jpg

    Dragon – http://www.autoweek.com/storyimage/CW/20130217/INDYCAR/130219836/AR/0/Bourdais-Dragon-Racing-IndyCar.jpg

    Caterham – http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Caterham-F1.jpg

    Marussia – http://static.derapate.it/derapate/fotogallery/625X0/30809/marussia_mr02-nuova-f1-2013-presentazione-6.jpg

    #245173
    Avatar of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    Found the link – NBC sports. http://motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/29/indycar-2014-silly-season-update-round-1/

    Sounds like I need to know better who is paying or not paying (granted looking for sponsorship or lack of it is a good indicator), to be more on the money. I had suspicions of Kimball, and knew guys like Conway were not (what sponsor would allow you to only pick races you wanted to drive! Fair play to Conway, the ovals must be scary, particularly after his Indy 500 crash). I thought I knew that the sponsorship was critical for a lot of the teams in the amount of cars they ran, hence keeping themselves afloat and viable employers. Didn’t realise they could take time off and return when monetary conditions were better (unlike F1′s take it or leave it team approach). True that Sato was British F3 champion, so he’s no slouch (and he was fast in F1 qualifying, if having the odd crashful year), but given Honda’s dedication to him, maybe he comes with a Honda engine subsidy or somesuch arrangement.

    I just hope a lot of the talent gets a chance, and given guys like Filippi getting a drive, there’s probably more chance of it happening in IndyCar than F1, and it’s refreshing to hear teams not wanting to run ‘anonymous ride buyer #123′! The road to indy ladder is definitely a good incentive for letting talent at least get a chance, something F1 could learn from (GP2, instead of having that function, is really a cash-cow for FOM. £2m needed per year per car! Is that more than a pay driver role in IndyCar?)..

    #245174
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Speaking of Mike Conway, he’s been quite successful in WEC this year, 3 class victories with 1 race left.

    Yes, I mentioned Sato was a pay driver – to be honest I’m surprised the teams put up with his constant mistakes.. I guess the odd good result for a lesser team and the Honda $$ is worth it for them? I don’t think I’ve seen one driver put a car in the wall so many times in such a short span of racing.

    The MRTI works all the way down to Skip Barber (Formula Ford style cars). Aspiring kart drivers can compete for scholarships each winter to race in one of three SB series, placing top 5 overall in those opens up automatic entry into another shootout for USF2000 scholarship. From there, winning the title in each series gives you a scholarship to move up. It pretty much guarantees that the better drivers will advance, unlike in Europe. Costs are relatively low, although there are less races per season.

    #245175
    Avatar of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine
    Keymaster

    Great to see Munoz getting a full season with Andretti after his excellent run at the Indianapolis 500.

    http://andrettiautosport.com/news/?p=3928#.UopX_MTWP4Y

    #245176
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Keith, if you have an Autosport subscription, could you get some quotes from this article? From the title it suggests Jack Harvey is heading for Indycar: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/111453

    Edit: nevermind, found it duplicated elsewhere.

    ‘RSF coordinator Derek Walters said: “The difficulty for any young driver is how he can make his mark and make a living, and it’s becoming more difficult. The sport seems to be in a pretty confused state and if we do another year with Jack in GP3, then GP2, then what?
    …an opportunity to jump into F1 unless you have 20 million euros, is pretty unlikely.

    “The objective of the Foundation is to help its drivers become professionals and Jack really wants to continue in single-seaters. Jack’s personality will fit well in America, and a lot of drivers in IndyCar are getting to their sell-by dates.”‘

    #245177
    Avatar of JackySteeg
    JackySteeg
    Participant

    Penske have probably got the strongest lineup, especially now that Ganassi have lost Dario. They’ve come so close the past 4 years – perhaps in 2014 they will finally win that championship.

    I’m most excited about seeing how Munoz progresses in a full season. That kid is the real deal. Might be a bit much to expect him to fight for the championship, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if he emerges as the top Andretti driver.

    #245178
    Avatar of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    I am glad to see Munoz get a full year to establish himself in IndyCar. I have a gut feeling Karam will be even better than Munoz, but I haven’t seen a lot of the Indy Lights or even Munoz’s result in the Indy 500. I did see him run well at the closer in Fontana before losing it. TV coverage here in the UK has gone down the pan now, so unless I seek it out it’s very hard for me to keep up with IndyCar. Sato does spin off a lot, he even did in F1 when he was not comfortable. Perhaps he is finding it hard to adapt, although he’s always been a more ‘fast and likely to spin’ kinda guy. The system to get into the USF2000 from Karting I did not know about, but that makes perfect sense, and I am glad it exists. Good to pit the best from the USA against the best from other countries that make the crossover..

    Harvey has the talent to have a good go at making it up to F1, but I think the RSF is put off by the rather prohibitive costs involved, and they have just ran James Calado for 2 seasons in GP2 (top 3 and top 5 finishes), costing probably around £4m, and now he is set to be only an FP1 driver for Force India (have to pay for that role too), before consideration for an F1 seat and any chance at a paid salary (probably less than £1m at Force India). So, no wonder they are looking towards IndyCar, as drivers like Franchitti suggest he will do well there (probably top 5-10 placing after time to warm up), and other drivers like Conway and Wilson have moved over and done well (who were at or just a tad under F1 level over here. I would say Wheldon and Franchitti were at that level, hence no wonder they are series champions and Indy 500 winners). I think Hawksworth is probably trying to do the same thing. Harvey would be an adequate replacement for Franchitti, unless his cousin Di Resta moves across (maybe he could be at the same calibre).

    #245179
    Avatar of Antonio Nartea
    Antonio Nartea
    Participant

    Penske have probably got the strongest lineup

    @jackysteeg – I don’t know about that. I rate the Dixon – Kanaan pairing very highly for next season, on par with the Castroneves – Power one, BUT I seriously doubt Montoya will be able to keep up with these four from the get-go. On the other hand Ganassi have Kimball as a consistent upper-midfielder to rely on, and if they’re truly trying to lure Paul Di Resta in, a rather solid fourth driver as well. Especially one that has driven something other than stock cars for the past years.

    I’ll go on a stretch here and say Ganassi (might / will) have a marginally better line-up than Penske.

    #245180
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Harvey’s record is very good (closely contested F.BMW against Frijns, British F3 champion, and aside from Kvyat he was the best rookie in GP3 this season). I’m interested to see how he stacks up against Matthew Brabham.

    #245181
    Avatar of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    Yes, I’ve seen a piece on Matt Brabham doing well in the Skippy (USF2000) last year I think, and thought he could do well in Star Mazda (which he won!), so it would be great to see a Brabham doing well in IndyCar as well! Sounds like a lot of good drivers will be approaching IndyCar soon (is it true that a lot of drivers currently in are now ‘approaching their sell-by date’?). Always good to have a great young generation to come through.

    No doubt at all that in 2014 Harvey would definitely win the GP3 series it has to be said, ahead of Visoiu and other guys coming up from lower down on the junior ladder, as the top ten from this year excluding Harvey move on to other series. But 2015/6 in GP2 would be another £4m, to then graduate to F1 in 2017. As a best case scenario he would do well in GP2 next year and then replace Calado as FP1 driver, but I think Conor Daly has already manoeuvred himself into that position (GP2/IndyCar next year?) with the team by doing straight line testing. So Harvey would have to be after him, which is likely anyway. Whereas, with IndyCar, he can jump straight in to Indy Lights for a season, do well and the progress to IndyCar when a chance comes up in 2015 by the sounds of it. A shame for F1, as it looks like he could be up to F1 level, definitely, by being top rookie in GP3 this year. He’s very quick and title challenging in the second year each time so far. So we’d see his best speed appear in F1 in 2018/19, aged 25/26. In IndyCar, perhaps 15/16 or 16/17 – 22 to 24. The potential is there for a ten year plus career, vs. five plus if lucky in F1.

    Here’s another question – does the top 3 teams (akin to the top 3 in F1 with F1 young driver programs, Toro Rosso for Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari indirectly with Marussia and possibly Force India) having 4 drivers make it harder for other operations to score more prize money? Thus locking them in as the top teams? I do know that they regularly contest for the championship. But I haven’t seen any team championship or know of how the prize money gets distributed. From my vague following over the past ten years, it seems like some concentrate on the Indy 500 and at other times the field size fluctuates from season to season and outside monetary circumstances.

    #245182
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Brabham drove Formula Ford in Australia then USF2000, he didn’t compete in Skip Barber.

    I think the “sell by date” comment referred to the likes of Servia, Tagliani, Kanaan and Castroneves approaching the end of their careers both in age and competitiveness terms. Kanaan is only a serious threat on ovals, and Castroneves hasn’t had a road course win in over a year now. The other two may be replaced entirely for 2014.

    Indycar used to have race purses but they reduced those (with the exception of the Indianapolis 500) in favour of payouts to the top 22 entries (in owner’s points) at the end of the season, vaguely similar to the FOM top 11 teams package that existed up to last year. The top 5 is generally where teams want to end up for the big money, although winning the Indy 500 is considered more important by some. The multi-car teams usually have an edge although it isn’t insurmountable (Schmidt Motorsports with Pagenaud were strong last year). Aside from the driver’s title, there is the aforementioned owner’s points which can be earned by multiple drivers in the same entry and making the top 22 is crucial for the tailenders. The manufacturers title has been won by Chevrolet over Honda and Lotus recently, although that might change as technical development is expanded.

    One-off entries are welcomed, the Indy 500 being the most obvious example, but some drivers and teams will choose to run a partial schedule for financial reasons or to play to their strengths (oval vs non-oval). In some cases a short-term deal is used to evaluate a driver or replace under-performing ones. 2013 had highs of 34 and 27 at Indy and Long Beach, and a low of 24 for several other races.

    #245183
    Avatar of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    Ah yes, sorry I momentarily thought back to the Skippy in iRacing, which is the training school car and not the actual USF2000 car I don’t think.

    I’ve heard of the age jibe about Servia and Tagliani – but thought maybe it was something to do with a rising average age across the field. I know Kanaan and Castroneves have been around for over ten years now, maybe approaching 15/20. Franchitti seemed to be not slowing down much though as he hit 40!

    Does this switch to the FOM model mean that it’s now harder for the smaller teams to survive? Or does the switch to oval/track specialty drivers alternating basically cram more drivers into combined seats and instead of season long, struggling on some tracks, mainly driving for their specialty? Thus raising the field quality..

    Like F1, there is a shortfall of money for the entries placed 23-26. Unless the 4 and 3 car teams can only count their best 2 each time out? A solution would be to have a 2 car cap, and let the lower one car teams run 2 cars if this is not the rule. Surely this would even up the teams slightly, as their major advantage would be data from more cars (unless there’s added prize money/team efficiencies)? On race purses, I wonder if it would allow the faster guys to establish themselves easier.. as it’s easier to build up momentum with some quick good finishes than a full season long effort from the start (and the money that would require). Hence the trying out of many drivers in the same car to find the best one for prize money scoring then over a season.

    I notice the rookie of the year this year was the only rookie that completed the season, perhaps with the help from the funds for winning Indy Lights. But there is a similar situation there in that car fields can vary from 16-17 to 10-11, depending on money circumstances. Would it be better to add some cheaper cars there and sustain it at 16 cars plus all year, also easing the pressure on IndyCar seats if it’s set to be around say 24-27 entries, with 33 for the Indy 500? Or would fields be better managed near 22? Hence prize money only to the top 22? It sounds like in IndyCar, if someone falters enough to fall outside/to the bottom of the prize money, there will always be someone to take your place anyway, as naturally there is a funded Indy Lights champion looking to move up (and someone move across from Europe), so even with bottom placed prize money (funded to the bottom entry) you could still be on the chopping board (unlike F1, with a high barrier to entry, hence no coasting allowed).

    #245184
    Avatar of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Dario was fast at times, but he definitely declined from 2011-12 and again this year.

    RE: the low-end teams, HVM and Conquest were almost entirely relying on ride buyers which wasn’t a sustainable approach. The Lotus fiasco finished off HVM as an independent team (although Viso is rumoured to be reviving it for 2014). Dreyer & Reinbold were also affected. Buying out of the engine contract and then paying for alternative suppliers is less than ideal for a single car team. Or in HVM’s case, running sub-par equipment and failing to finish most races. As you can imagine, a poor engine dooms you to failure on ovals, and chassis changes weren’t going to compensate for the kind of horsepower deficit Lotus had.

    Indy Lights is expected to have more entries for 2014 as costs will be lowered, the new owner of the series Dan Andersen expects 15-16 full time cars. There will likely be some one-offs, so ~20 in theory is attainable on a race-to-race basis. Once the next-generation chassis is rolled out in 2015, new teams like Carlin could join the series.

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