Photo: IndyCar

An 18th Honda remains outside possibility for Indianapolis 500

Leave a comment

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Although Gabby Chaves was passed over for the third Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda for the 100th Indianapolis 500 in favor of Oriol Servia, it appears his race dreams may not be over yet.

MotorSportsTalk understands there are multiple potential options in the process of being explored to see an 18th Honda engine/car appear on the Indianapolis 500 entry list, with time of the essence before the month of May kicks off, although nothing is decided as yet.

Chaves is still here this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, and remains committed to working toward an effort for May.

Mike Shank, the veteran sports car team owner who runs a Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has been rumored to potentially field an entry in partnership with an existing IndyCar team owner.

Meanwhile Grace Autosport, who had been rumored to run with KVSH Racing, is still yet to announce a team alliance.

The Beth Paretta-led team announced its intentions to run last May and has had a seat earmarked for Katherine Legge, who has a bit of Honda experience within sports car racing having raced a Honda Civic Si in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with Compass360 Racing at Road America in 2014.

Nothing is certain yet regarding this potential extra Honda entry, although Honda Performance Development President Art St. Cyr has said in multiple interviews dating to St. Petersburg that the company could have the capacity to expand to an 18th car.

“Yes, 17, that’s what we’re staffed up to do. Given the right situation, we could extend to an 18th,” St. Cyr told NBC Sports last week at Long Beach.

“It’s getting close to when we’d need to pull the trigger.”

Here’s the Honda car/engine breakdown as it stands right now:

  • Andretti (5) – Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi (Andretti Herta), Townsend Bell
  • Coyne (4) – Conor Daly, Bryan Clauson (confirmed; Coyne with Byrd); Luca Filippi, Pippa Mann (expected; not official yet)
  • SPM (3) – James Hinchcliffe, Mikhail Aleshin, Oriol Servia
  • Foyt (3) – Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth, Alex Tagliani
  • RLL (2) – Graham Rahal, Spencer Pigot

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Leave a comment

MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.