The start of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season is just ten weeks away with the Firestone Grand Prix exactly 67 days away. The 2020 season ended where it was due to begin which was the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg but due to the Covid 19 global pandemic the season was delayed from March to June.

The United States have begun vaccinating people against COVID 19 however cases continue to rise and there is a new variant of the virus which has reached US shores however the NTT IndyCar Series have worked incredibly hard to ensure the safety of all team personnel, drivers, officials and media attending races.

The Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg is due to take place from March 5 to 7 and as the series ended the 2020 season here and with a vaccine now available, Green Savoree Racing Promotions, the organizers of the race are confident the race will go ahead however it is too earlier to say if fans will be in attendance at the season opener.

The 2021 season will see Team Penske expand to a four car team with the arrival of Scott McLaughlin who joins the outfit full-time from the Australian Supercar championship.

Chip Ganassi Racing have undergone probably the biggest change over the off season following the departure of Felix Rosenqvist, Alex Palou has come in from Dale Coyne Racing to drive the No.10 NTT DATA Honda alongside defending series champion Scott Dixon who returns to the No.9 PNC Bank Honda. Marcus Ericsson also returns to the Ganassi lineup in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda.

The biggest news out of Ganassi over the off-season is the arrival of seven time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson who will compete in all road and street course events in the No.48 Carvana Honda and will make his race debut in St Pete. Tony Kanaan also returns to the Ganassi line up after three seasons with AJ Foyt Racing, the Brazilian will share the No.48 Honda with Johnson competing in the three oval events including the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge which is scheduled to take place on Sunday May 30.

Andretti Autosport have parted company with Harding Steinbrenner Racing meaning that Colton Herta who ended the 2020 season in third place in the championship moves into the No.26 Gainbridge Honda vacated by Zach Veach. Marco Andretti is expected to continue in the No.98 Honda as he is a co-owner in the car with his father Michael and Bryan Herta. Ryan Hunter Reay returns to the team in the No.28 DHL Honda having recently signed a new contract.

Alexander Rossi returns to the No.27 NAPA Honda while Michael Andretti has confirmed that he aims to continue with five cars full time in 2021. Paddock Eye understands that James Hinchcliffe will return to full-time NTT IndyCar Series competition in 2021 driving the No.29 Genesys Honda.

Dale Coyne Racing have yet to announce their line up for 2021 with Alex Palou having moved on and Santino Ferrucci set to compete in NASCAR’s Xfinity series he is unlikely to return to IndyCar full-time in 2021.

AJ Foyt Racing have two full-time drivers in place with Sebastiien Bourdais returning to full-time competition in the No.14 Chevrolet while Dalton Kellett returns to IndyCar making the step up to a full-time IndyCar programme in the No.14 K Line Insulator Chevrolet.

Ed Carpenter Racing return with both Conor Daly and Rinus Veekay while Ed Carpenter will continue with his oval programme sharing the No.20 US Air Force Chevrolet with Daly.

Carlin Racing have yet to confirm their plans but Paddock Eye believes that they will continue with a single car entry for both Max Chilton and Conor Daly (Daly driving oval events).

Arrow McLaren SP have brought in Felix Rosenqvist from Ganassi to replace to Oliver Askew while Juan Pablo Montoya will make his first Indianapolis 500 start since 2017 with the team.

Meyer Shank Racing have expanded over the off-season with thanks to investment from Liberty Media who bought into the team allowing them to expand to a two car outfit for selected races with series veteran Helio Castroneves joining Jack Harvey for select races including May’s Indianapolis 500.

Defending Indianapolis 500 winners Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing return with Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato. For more information on the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg and for updates on attendance and race tickets along with any COVID 19 protocols visit –

 

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