IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Jack Hawksworth

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MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with Jack Hawksworth. Hawksworth had a challenging second season in the sport.

Jack Hawksworth, No. 41 A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda

  • 2014: 17th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 2nd, 1 Podium, 1 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 32 Laps Led, 15.6 Avg. Start, 13.1 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 17th Place, Best Finish 7th, Best Start 8th, 0 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 16 Laps Led, 17.2 Avg. Start, 15.9 Avg. Finish

Hawksworth endured something of a nightmare second season in IndyCar, after a promising rookie season in 2014 where he frequently punched above his weight with Bryan Herta Autosport. It all went the opposite of the intended plan; Hawksworth moved to Texas, had a teammate, a decent engineering staff and more available resources but by way of either bad luck, bad timing, bad setups or a combination of all of the above, never had one truly standout weekend.

There was a harbinger of positivity at the season opener at St. Petersburg, where Hawksworth vaulted from 21st to eighth by the finish, despite needing a new front wing and pitting off sequence to lead five laps. But he didn’t produce a single top-10 qualifying run – teammate Takuma Sato had five – his best efforts were 11th on two occasions to fly the flag for Honda’s frequently difficult road course aero kit. His one top-10 start came courtesy of a rainout at NOLA, where the field was set by entrant points (and thus, his St. Petersburg result).

After the eighth in St. Pete, Hawksworth’s four remaining top-10 finishes all were almost completely strategy or yellow flag timing-aided rather than down to outright performance. His best drive was probably Detroit race two, where he twice served as Sage Karam’s bowling pin, yet recovered to seventh by the checkered flag.

It’s easy to forget Hawksworth is only 24 considering he won the 2012 Star Mazda title, won races in Indy Lights in 2013 and overachieved a year ago with Herta. But he can’t afford future seasons like this one and provided he returns with Foyt, as is expected, for 2016, he’ll need to enter himself into the “comeback driver of the year” conversation. This was definitely a year to forget for the likable Englishman.