DHL confirmed before the end of the 2023 IndyCar season that they would not be back with Andretti Autosport as the primary sponsor of the No. 28 Honda in 2024. Their partnership with the team began back in 2011, making them one of the longest-standing sponsors in the series.
The global leader in the logistics industry made the decision to end their 13-year partnership with Michael Andretti's team, but they did not rule out future involvement in IndyCar as a whole. A little bit later on, they confirmed a new partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing, winners of three of the last four and four of the last six championships.
Chip Ganassi Racing and DHL confirmed that two-time and reigning series champion Alex Palou is set to carry sponsorship from the brand on his No. 10 Honda in 2024 and beyond.
The move gives the DHL the prospect of winning IndyCar races and championships again
That was one of the reasons cited by Mike Parra, DHL Express Americas CEO and head of global sponsorships, as to why the company opted to make the move they did over the offseason.
DHL won the IndyCar championship in their second season with Andretti Autosport back in 2012, when Ryan Hunter-Reay overtook Team Penske's Will Power in the final race of the season to secure the title.
They won the Indy 500 with Hunter-Reay two years later. From 2012 to 2015, Hunter-Reay reeled off four straight multi-win seasons, including a career-best four-win season during his title-winning campaign.
But since the 2015 season, DHL have had just one winning season, and they have not won since Hunter-Reay won the 2018 season finale at Sonoma Raceway.
They have two total wins in the last eight years. There were high hopes when Romain Grosjean took over for Hunter-Reay behind the wheel of the No. 28 Honda in 2022, but his two-year run with the team culminated with just three total podium finishes -- the same as his single-season total from a part-time schedule with Dale Coyne Racing during his rookie season in 2021.
As Andretti Autosport (now Andretti Global) move forward as only a three-car team for the first time since Hunter-Reay won his 2012 championship, hopes are high for them heading into the 2024 season. But perhaps hopes are even higher for DHL as they aim to get back to where they were once accustomed to being -- the top step of the podium.
Palou joined Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021 and won the championship with a three-win season. Even in a "down" 2022 season that was dominated by contract drama as he tried to leave for Arrow McLaren, he still tied for fourth place in the standings and recorded the most dominant win of the modern era at Laguna Seca.
In 2023, Palou added five more wins, a record-breaking Indy 500 pole run, and another championship, the first title clinched before the season finale since 2007 (2005 excluding Champ Car). The series had not previously seen a five-win champion since 2016, and it had not previously seen a driver record all top eight finishes over the course of a 17-race season since 1922.
The 26-year-old Spaniard now appears to be a part of Chip Ganassi Racing's long-term future after reneging on a deal that would have sent him to Arrow McLaren for 2024 and beyond, and that bodes quite well for DHL.
If the presumptive championship favorite can continue to find his way to victory lane, there will be more red and yellow atop the podium than just the Spanish flag, a sight IndyCar fans haven't seen in more than half a decade.
The 2024 IndyCar season is set to consist of 17 races, and it is scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. NBC is set to provide live coverage. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it!