The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season coming to a close with four races in the month and a half and with that in mind it is the time for teams to decide on their driver line-up’s for 2017.
Roger Penske is likely to field an unchanged four car line-up in 2017 despite the fact that there has been immense speculation about Juan Pablo Montoya’s future with the team following an extremely difficult season for the Colombian. Montoya is currently 12th in the standings on 299 points while his team mates Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Helio Castroneves occupy the top three positions in the standings.
Montoya however has indicated that he wants to remain with the team next season. Team Penske’s managing director Tim Cindric has confirmed that the outfit will not make an announcement about their line-up until the end of the season.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s line-up will likely stay the same despite losing Target as a sponsor after 27 years at the team. Scott Dixon is staying put and will be with Ganassi for years to come, as for Tony Kanaan he is likely to be in the No.10 NTT DATA Chevrolet next season. Charlie Kimball is also expected to be the team next season, however it remains to be seen if Max Chilton will remain with the team for another season.
With Josef Newgarden the topic of conversation following a successful season with Ed Carpenter Racing he could become a target for one of the bigger teams like Ganassi.
Andretti Autosport are set to field an unchanged line up with Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter Reay, Carlos Munoz and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi remaining with the team despite his ties with the Manor F1 Team and uncertainty surrounding the future of their driver Rio Haryanto. Rossi stated last week while on a visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 that he expects to attempt to defend his Indy 500 next season.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ co-owner Sam Schmidt confirmed at the Honda Indy 200 AT Mid-Ohio that James Hinchcliffe has a contract with the team for next season and that he hopes to retain Mikhail Aleshin as well.
Sebastien Bourdais will more than likely remain with KVSH Racing. Dale Coyne Racing are likely to see a change. Conor Daly will more than likely remain with the team however the second seat is unclear, Gabby Chaves, Luca Filippi, Pippa Mann and RC Enerson have all been with the team this season and Enerson who made his debut at Mid-Ohio over the weekend was very impressive as he out-qualified Daly.
Graham Rahal will likely remain at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as Steak N’ Shake are now a featured partner on the No.15 Honda.
It is unclear what will happen with AJ Foyt Racing’s line-up with Jack Hawkswoth and Takuma Sato.
Ed Carpenter Racing could have problems trying to hold onto Josef Newgarden as the highly rated American has been extremely impressive this season and is currently in fourth place in the series points standings however ECR have brought in a number of sponsors this season included Preferred Freezer Services and they have also brought in Spencer Pigot from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing so he is likely to remain with the team next season while Ed Carpenter will more than likely remain for the oval races so they could face a dilemma in the off-season.
There could also be deals done over the winter that could more partnerships done with existing teams such as the deal done between Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta to run Alexander Rossi this season. Only time will tell but one this is certain this off season is going to be just as unpredictable as the on track action this year. The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series is going to be one to remember!