IndyCar: 5 big silly season questions that still need answers

Juri Vips, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Juri Vips, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, IndyCar - Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

While many of the big names are off the market, there is still plenty to watch as IndyCar silly season progresses throughout the early stages of the offseason.

With Felix Rosenqvist officially on his way from Arrow McLaren to Meyer Shank Racing and David Malukas likely to be confirmed as his replacement, many of the big players in this year’s IndyCar silly season have officially been announced as a part of the 2024 driver lineup.

Alex Palou being set to stay with Chip Ganassi Racing after another interesting contract saga involving McLaren, Marcus Ericsson signing with Andretti Autosport, and rookie Linus Lundqvist signing with Chip Ganassi Racing to replace Ericsson are among the most notable recent highlights of another chaotic free agency.

But even if we assume that Malukas to Arrow McLaren is confirmed in the coming days, there is still plenty that has not yet been announced about next year’s lineup.

Here are five IndyCar silly season questions that still need answers.

IndyCar silly season: No. 1 – Will Andretti Autosport stay at four cars?

With Devlin DeFrancesco out and Romain Grosjean having long been viewed as being on the hot seat, the belief was that Andretti Autosport could sign David Malukas even if they signed Marcus Ericsson. But despite Grosjean having since confirmed he won’t be back with Michael Andretti’s team, Malukas won’t be driving for them next year.

Will somebody else get the call, or will the team’s recently announced new approach of not signing pay drivers result in a downsize from four cars to three?

IndyCar silly season: No. 2 – Is Simon Pagenaud’s IndyCar career over?

Some may view Simon Pagenaud as having gotten a raw deal at Meyer Shank Racing, given the fact that he hasn’t competed since his nasty shunt at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in early July and was still dropped.

However, Felix Rosenqvist being called upon to replace Pagenaud was largely expected, as a driver lineup overhaul was seen as inevitable given the team’s struggles in 2023. Having not finished higher than 13th place in eight starts this year, is that it for the 2016 series champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner?

IndyCar silly season: No. 3 – Who gets the best remaining seat?

That seat, of course, is the third seat at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Jack Harvey never had much of a chance to return to the No. 30 Honda next year, especially amid his continued struggles during the team’s recent resurgence, and the team released him early in an effort to better prepare for 2024.

Is recent replacement Juri Vips the shoo-in for the seat alongside Christian Lundgaard and Graham Rahal, or will the team go in another direction?

IndyCar silly season: No. 4 – Who lands the top remaining free agent?

It seems strange to say that Devlin DeFrancesco is the sport’s top remaining free agent, given that he has never finished a race higher than 12th place, but after his Firestone Fast Six appearance, his move for the lead, and his eight laps led at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course — plus the budget he could bring to a smaller team — he is apparently garnering quite a bit of interest.

Dale Coyne Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Enterprises are all known to have seats to fill, and all have reportedly shown interest in the soon-to-be ex-Andretti Autosport driver. Who wins out?

IndyCar silly season: No. 5 – What happens to Santino Ferrucci?

After a third place finish in this year’s Indy 500, Santino Ferrucci staying at A.J. Foyt Enterprises seems like the best-case scenario for all parties involved, even though the team have been, for lack of a better word, irrelevant in all other races this year.

The technical alliance with Team Penske makes it even more beneficial. But Ferrucci staying is far from a sure thing, which could throw an interesting twist to this year’s silly season.

Ferrucci is five for five in terms of top 10 finishes in the Indy 500, and he has done it for four different teams. While an Indy 500-only (or at least a part-time) ride would seem fitting, he is also the only teammate of Alex Palou’s whom Palou has never beaten head-to-head (Ferrucci finished three spots higher in 2020). If A.J. Foyt’s team lets Ferrucci walk, how can anybody justify a lack of interest from other organizations?

dark. Next. All-time IndyCar wins list

There are quite a few other storylines to watch as well over the offseason, including but not limited to Ryan Hunter-Reay’s future at Ed Carpenter Racing, Dale Coyne Racing’s lineup decision, and Juncos Hollinger Racing’s future as a two-car team. Bottom line, the drama is far from over, even with a lot of the heavy hitters having already made an impression during this year’s silly season.