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Let me put an uneducated, baseless, but scientifically possible prediction:
Jean-Eric Vergne somewhere on the grid next year – perhaps in Newman-Haas with fellow STR DO Bourdais!
P.S. Italian reporters move on. There’s nothing of interest in this post.
Don’t think Vergne is interested, and NHR was on borrowed time after the death of Paul Newman.
Sam Bird says he is negotiations with Indycar teams: http://www.racer.com/indycar/item/108458-indycar-bird-remains-focused-on-move-to-america
Parker Kligerman will test an Indy Lights car after expressing interest in an Indycar career: http://instagram.com/p/s0hotRyF41/
If Bird and Kligerman could replace Huertas and Saavedra, we’d be moving in the right direction. Montoya’s ‘Columbian successors’ would best be Munoz and Chaves.
That said, I can see Bird, Abt and others ‘doubling up’ between Indy and Formula E, trying to stick with whichever one they are successful in or can successfully get a seat in, if push comes to shove. Sato may try and stick in Formula E if his time in Indycar comes to an end.
I could see KV getting rid of Saavedra, but Coyne doesn’t have the money to pay two drivers good salaries and maintain both cars.
Apparently Briscoe’s presence at Ganassi next year isn’t confirmed yet, so that would the best open seat.
Daniel Abt will test with Andretti Autosport next month: http://hereisthecity.com/en-gb/2014/09/25/gp2-racer-ready-to-turn-his-back-on-f1-pursuit-for-indycar/
It would be great to see Ganassi take a punt with Sam Bird or somebody. Bird is clearly a capable driver and I am sure he will adapt to the road and street courses pretty quickly. It’s just his, like most other ‘European’ racers, lack of oval experience which concerns me. Not everybody is going to be able to ‘do a Conway’.
The thing is that Ganassi already have Sage Karam under contract (who has already shown his adaptability and speed across Indycar, its ladder series and sports cars). He’s been consistently strong on ovals, something I have doubts about Bird being able to do. Out of the recent European-based converts Rubens Barrichello had the best oval average, approximately 9th (although that’s based on only 3 finishes). Aleshin showed more speed, but has a tendency to stick it in the wall too often to be reliable.
Penske’s super team just got even more super – they’re expanding to four cars next year and Simon Pagenaud will join champion Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves.
Power/Montoya/Castroneves/Pagenaud is the sort of line-up that should make Ganassi and Andretti seriously think about who drives their cars. Each of those are absolutely class drivers. This could well be an era of dominance for Penske.
Now that’s a superteam.
Does this mean that Pagenaud is not with Honda anymore? Because in that case he can wave goodbye to his wish to test drive next year’s McLaren-Honda.
Wow, I really hope this pushes Ganassi and Andretti to pick up some other great drivers. While next year looks to be set for Penske already, maybe this will see an increase in international drivers getting top seats for the 2016 season?
Just saw a private video of 2014 Indy Lights Champion Gabby Chaves testing what appeared to be Pageneud’s car in Homestead, he was part of a two car test for Chaves and Rodolfo Gonzalez….
Pagenaud is my favourite Indycar driver, hope he can pick up a championship or two!
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