IndyCar: Rumors abound about remaining open 2020 seats

There are only a few remaining open seats in the 2020 IndyCar driver lineup. But there have already been specific drivers rumored to most of them.

The 2020 IndyCar driver lineup is steadily coming together, most recently with Dale Coyne Racing confirming former Japanese Super Formula driver Alex Palou as the replacement for four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais via a new partnership with Team Goh.

As documented, there are only a few more remaining open seats for the 2020 season, including another one at Dale Coyne Racing, two at A.J. Foyt Enterprises, two at Carlin and potentially one more at an undetermined team depending on funding.

Many of these seats have already been heavily linked to drivers for next year, so the 2020 driver lineup being set is really just a matter of time more than anything, even though there are still a few things up in the air before confirmations are made.

As for Dale Coyne Racing, Santino Ferrucci is basically a lock to return for a second season behind the wheel of the #19 Honda, as he has been for the last four and a half months. In early August, he stated that he was leaving his options open even though he had a deal in place to return to the team, and at this point, that would appear to be his best option.

It is also one that team owner Dale Coyne has recently discussed as likely being finalized in the near future. Notably, Vasser-Sullivan, which partnered with Dale Coyne Racing to field Bourdais’s entry in 2018 and 2019, will likely join Ferrucci’s entry instead; team co-owner Jimmy Vasser confirmed that they would be in IndyCar in next year and that an announcement about the matter is on its way in the very near future.

As for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, nothing is confirmed about their 2020 driver lineup aside of the fact that Matheus Leist (pictured) won’t be back, as he made the switch to IMSA to drive for JDC-Miller MotorSports following two years of IndyCar competition at A.J. Foyt’s team.

Foyt previously stated that his team would still run two cars on a full-time basis in 2020 despite the loss of 15-year full-time primary sponsor ABC Supply after the 2019 season. While they may only have one full-time driver, this scenario does still appear likely.

Charlie Kimball has been rumored to land with the team as their lone full-time driver after spending the 2019 season driving part-time for Carlin, a role he had never had with any team since his career began back in 2011.

Meanwhile, Tony Kanaan, who drove for the team in 2018 and 2019, has stated that he will likely be back with them in 2020, but it is heavily speculated that he may only be a part-time driver.

Dalton Kellett is believed to have enough funding to make the move from Indy Lights to IndyCar next year, but said funding is reportedly only enough for a part-time ride. Could he and Kanaan end up sharing a seat?

As for Carlin, not much is known about the 2020 season except the fact that they are slated to continue fielding two cars on a full-time basis. Sergio Sette Camara, who was on Coyne’s shortlist of three drivers to replace Bourdais, has been discussed as a possibility, as has Kellett if the rumored Foyt deal doesn’t work out.

One driver who hasn’t been discussed much but should be back in 2020, at least on a part-time basis after giving up ovals in 2019, is Max Chilton. He has been with the team since they arrived in IndyCar in 2018, and that would likely be his only option if he chooses to continue on in the series.

At the end of the day, Carlin will probably end up with multiple part-time drivers once again. They had just two full-time drivers, Kimball and Chilton, in 2018, but last season, a total of six (seven if you include Fernando Alonso’s Carlin-aligned Indianapolis 500 entry with McLaren) drivers spent time competing for the team.

Finally, as for the potential additional entry, that would likely be at a Honda team if James Hinchcliffe, who was released by Arrow McLaren SP despite having a contract to remain with the team in 2020, can secure enough funding outside of that which he would get from Honda and counterpart Honda Canada.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing have all been discussed as possibilities, and a few months ago, Andretti Autosport COO Rob Edwards even refused to rule out bringing Hinchcliffe aboard the team in 2020, although that would likely be in a part-time role at this point since they already have five full-time drivers.

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What will the finalized 2020 IndyCar driver lineup look like? The offseason between the 2019 and 2020 seasons is just past its halfway mark, so expect additional confirmations to continue being made pretty frequently.