Andretti Autosport Sticks with Honda
IndyCar team eschews rumors of switch to Chevy and renews contract for ‘multi-year’ deal with HPD.
The end of any racing season brings not only championship drama but team-and-lineup drama. People call it “silly season” for a reason with swirling rumors and looming changes to teams. Andretti Autosport recently quelled rumors of a powerplant switch to Chevrolet by announcing they’ll stick with Honda for 2018 and beyond.
That means Andretti’s four-car (or possibly three-car) lineup will continue to use the turbocharged 2.2-liter Honda V6. That engine has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s. Like its Chevy competition, the Honda V6 makes anywhere from 550 to 800 horsepower, depending on the track.
With the series switching to a universal aerodynamics kit, new emphasis will be placed on engine capability. The universal kits replace manufacturer-specific body kits and with Honda showing ample strength in the series’ crown-jewel, the Indy 500, we think they might have made a strong choice.
Some driver lineups look likely to change for 2018, however. The 2017 Indy 500 winner, Takuma Sato, seems headed to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. That would add a quality full-season partner for RLL solo driver Graham Rahal.
Sato’s absence might also leave open a seat in a fourth car. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, and Marco Andretti will fill three of the Andretti seats. Should they add a fourth one, some have speculated that a certain Spanish F1 driver might have interest in it.
Could we see Fernando Alonso race IndyCar next year? It seems unlikely both that he’ll have a competitive McLaren-Honda in F1 and that any other competitive F1 team has room for him. Aside from taking a pay cut, we don’t see much downside in a stateside sabbatical.
While we ponder that, Rossi captured his first road-course win and looks poised for an interbrand rivalry with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden. With young American drivers like Rossi and Newgarden driving for competing brands and with the Alonso rumor mill turning like there’s a galeforce wind, IndyCar could be in its best place in a quarter-century.