2013 Silly Season… Who’s Where, and What’s What

Programming note: This article is old and incorrect. An updated list can be found here.

It may only be October, but it’s never too early to start thinking about silly season in indycar world. Without the post-Vegas fallout to contend with this year, silly season has picked up steam much earlier this year than in 2011. The drivers market is healthy, but sponsorship dollars are very hard to come by. As with 2011, the number of seats will be set by the engine manufacturers, and I hope they are a bit more generous this year even with the exit of Lotus.

I have broken the teams into three categories: Team Honda, Team Chevy and possible or unaffiliated teams. As always, there is talk of adding a second seat at many of the single car teams, and Honda seems very keen to pair up any one car operations in a bid for more information sharing and ultimately more success.

Ed Carpenter Racing has been back and forth about merging with another Chevy team, with KV Racing and HVM as the opined teams of choice for such a merge. However, KVRT has lost nearly all of its former glory and have even been linked with a switch from Chevy to Honda.

With the possibility of Penske and Ganassi Deux losing a seat for 2013, this opens the door for current and possible team owners to snag one of the freed engine leases. I have the feeling that Honda and Chevy are not too hot on adding additional leases unless the deal is right. The manufacturers are losing money on every signed lease, and I can understand why they wouldn’t just give their engines out to any ‘ol teams wanting to take a crack at indycar racing.

Team Honda

Team Engine Driver
AJ F E Honda ?
BHA Honda ?
CGR Honda Franchitti
Dixon*
DCR Honda ?
(?)
G2 Honda Kimball
(?)
RLLR Honda ?
(?)
SFHR Honda Newgarden
SSHM Honda Pagenaud
(?)

Team Chevy

Team Engine Driver
AA Chevy Andretti
Hinchcliffe
Hunter-Reay
DRR Chevy ?
ECR Chevy Carpenter
KVRT Chevy Kanaan
(?)
(?)
Panther Chevy Hildebrand
(?)
Penske Chevy Power
Castroneves*
(?)

 

Beleaguered HVM Racing has a sponsorship contract and Simona signed on for 2013, but does not have an engine contract to replace the terribly underperforming Lotus engine. Lotus as a whole has not officially pulled out of the series yet. I have no Idea what this could mean for the series or HVM.

Dragon Racing, the team granted leaders circle money and an engine on the strength of their “web impressions”, yet do not have an active website currently. Not to mention, team owner Jay Penske has been in some legal troubles recently. If they show up on the 2013 grid, I don’t think Legge will be with them.

Michael Shank’s dream of running a full season indycar program rustles to life again with the hopes of finally acquiring one of the mystical engine leases. The remaining five teams have all been linked with American open-wheel racing or have expressed an interest in competing in the series. Information of the state of said programs is impossible to come by at this point.

Unaffiliated and possible new entries

Team Engine Driver
HVM ? de Silvestro
(Dragon Racing) ? (?)
(?)
(MSR Indy) ? (?)
(Newman/Haas) ? (?)
(Conquest Racing) ? (?)
(Team Viso) ? (?)
(Fan Force United) ? (?)
(Scudiera Coloni) ? (?)

Finally, we have 33 drivers who either drove in the series or Indy 500 in 2012 and have no contract for 2013, or have been on record with an interest with competing in the series. I am shocked at how many drivers comprise this list, and there are surely more to add yet. Whether the length of this list is an indication of how hard it is to find cash to run, or if it is credence to the hope that indycar is seen as top-level outside of our biased bubble is hard to tell. But there is a literal ton of talent on this list and if we see all of the free agents return plus a few new guys, then 2013 could be very fun to watch.

Unsigned Drivers

Driver Notes
Barrichello Free agent. Linked with SSHM
Briscoe Free agent. Would take Penske 3rd seat with funding
Rahal Free agent. Linked with RLLR
Sato Free agent. Ran for RLLR in 2012, no contract for 2013
Servia Free agent. Ran for DRR in 2012, no contract for 2013
Tagliani Free agent. Ran for BHA in 2012, no contract for 2013
Viso Free agent. Start his own team?
Wilson Free agent. Ran for DCR in 2012, no contract for 2013
Bourdais Signed with Dragon for 2013, is team still viable?
Legge TrueCar money in hand, will probably not return to Dragon
Saavedera Linked with AFS Racing and AA
Beatriz Linked with AA
Austin 500 only, confirmed for AJ F E
Bell 500 only?
Clauson 500 only?
Patrick 500 only?
Cunningham Super-sub
Pantano Super-sub
Junqueira Super-sub
Vautier Indy Lights champion and scholarship winner
Howard Continually linked with MSR indy
Mann One of these days…
Guerrieri Linked with KVRT for 2 years
Lloyd Persuing a career as a writer?
Schecker Making noise about something once again
Allmendinger Back to NASCAR
Conway No ovals, probably out
Jakes probably out
Alesi nearly certain to not reprise his 500 attempt in 2013
Meira On 2012 silly season list, no mentions for 2013
Yacaman On 2012 silly season list, no mentions for 2013
Tracy On 2012 silly season list, no mentions for 2013

 

There we have it, at least 47 drivers competing for at most 28 full season seats in 2013. That number is huge, and if we could see 35 or so get a chance at the 500, the series would be in much better shape than in 2012. That is not to say that a 25/26 car field was paltry by any means, but with so much interest in the series, only good things can happen. Next week, a new tab will appear in the menu above so we can track the silly season shifts until the green flag finally dropped in St. Petersburg next March.

Eric Hall

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4 Responses to 2013 Silly Season… Who’s Where, and What’s What

  1. Really nice breakdown, thanks! I’m curious, tho, is there news about Dragon that supersedes this? http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-dragon-bourdais-finalizing-2013-contract/ I.e. that Legge was already under contract, with Bourdais soon to follow…

    That said, I’m pretty sure somebody arrested for breaking and entering after urinating on somebody isn’t qualified to own a racing team, and their lack of a website (despite being a supposed internet media mogul) was definitely always bizarre. So I certainly hope that Bourdais and Legge can find teams that are at least a bit less useless!

  2. Sean Wrona says:

    I think Luca Filippi and Buddy Rice should be on the list as well, just in case. Filippi might be a candidate for Coloni if that happens (very unlikely). I’m really puzzled how Rice and Bruno Junqueira just kind of disappeared post-2008. I’d easily take both of them over Marco and Graham, even at this point. I guess people think they weren’t the same after their wrecks (like they were the IndyCar equivalents of Steve Park)? I don’t agree. Rice won a 24 Hours of Daytona later and Junqueira had 3 straight podiums for Dale Coyne, doing almost as well as Wilson did.

  3. mike indi says:

    I’m lost for words on so many things that did not get published on the 2012 season. Many things are still not getting out for 2013 season…. You have the big 3 Andretti, Penske, and Ganassi who have everything going for them…. Last season behind the scenes there was (GMS) Gandolf Motor Sports, Joey Gandolf President and CEO With Jaques Lazier as the Driver who was trying to hook up with one of the big 3 who couldn’t get an engine…. Which they were ready to finish the season with the team if had an engine for INDY… Well we all know where that went…. Many things going on this year with GMS that will come out soon…. He is quiet and waiting for the right moment to announce being a force for the 2013 season with plenty of backing…..

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