#25 Marco Andretti
- Team: Andretti Autosport
- Engine: Chevrolet
- Sponsors: Royal Crown Cola
- 2012: 16th, One Pole, One Podium
2012 WRAP: Andretti struggled mightily for much of last season, and especially so on the road/street circuits that make up the bulk of the schedule. His best finish on the twisty tracks was a middling 11th, achieved twice at both Barber Motorsports Park and Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. But the most grueling moment for him had to be at Indianapolis, where he led the most laps of any driver (59 laps) but ended his day with a crash on Lap 188.
2013 OUTLOOK: In addition to his car number, Andretti has changed his race craft over the winter (“Essentially, I was trying to make the front tires do two things at once,” he told IndyCar.com of his previous style in January). He’ll also have a new engineer on his No. 25 car – Blair Perschbacher, who moves up to IndyCar from Firestone Indy Lights. Altogether, it would appear to be a fresh start for the third-generation driver, and we’ll see if it makes for a more competitive run for him in 2013.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.