Photo: Devlin Defrancesco at Long Beach
Just when you thought Silly Season was over, the NTT Indycar Series grid for 2023 became both clearer and cloudier in the last week.
Devlin DeFrancesco will stay in the 29 car for Andretti Autosport in 2023. He has had a somewhat uneven season, but DeFrancesco has qualified well in several of recent races. He started ninth at Gateway
Formula 1 rumors have again risen around Colton Herta. Red Bull has made inquiries about his filling one of the Alpha Tauri seats which may soon be vacant. Herta is still shy of the required 40 points for an F1 super license. My guess is he is back in the 26 for one more year. Herta would likely be a reserve driver in F1 in 2023.
The Newest Hottest Driver
I thought it was a foregone conclusion that David Malukas would be back with dale Coyne Racing next year. The rookie has begun to get notice from other teams, and his second place at gateway two weeks ago really cranked up the free agent buzz.
There seems to be great interest from Chip Ganassi Racing, which could have as many as two openings in 2023, depending on the Alex Palou situation with McLaren, and whether Jimmie Johnson returns with Carvana.
This puzzle may not be resolved for awhile. My fear is that Malukas may end up the odd man out. That would be a huge mistake for the series.
Where Do Indy Lights Drivers Fit?
Linus Lundqvist will most likely win the Indy lights championship and have three Indycar races, including the Indianapolis 500, guaranteed. If Malukas moves to Ganassi, could Lundqvist move into the seat at Coyne?
Matthew Brabham and Hunter McElrea are also seeking Indycar rides. Ernie Francis, Jr. may also be looking to move up, at least for the 500.
Indycar in2023 will have the usual problem of too many drivers seeking too few seats. The grid is expected to expand next season, but the driver situation will only improve when the elusive third OEM appears.