Controversial Santino Ferrucci to make IndyCar return

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Santino Ferrucci (USA), Dale Coyne Racing, Detroit, Verizon IndyCar Series, 2018
Credit: Joe Skibinski / Courtesy of IndyCar

Dale Coyne Racing has announced today that Santino Ferrucci will return to the Verizon IndyCar Series for the final two races of the 2018 season. The American, who was banned and subsequently fired due to a number of factors from his Formula 2 team earlier this year, will race at the Grand Prix of Portland as well as the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.

Ferrucci, a Haas F1 Team protege, made his IndyCar debut earlier this year at the Duel in Detroit. The American raced the #19 PaySafe Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, joining Pietro Fittipaldi and Zachary Claman De Melo in sharing the car throughout the season.

Santino showed decent pace in the build-up to the doubleheader weekend of races in Detroit. He had been running just outside of the top ten in race one when he was rear-ended by Charlie Kimball. The contact put Ferrucci into the barriers and out of the race. He found himself back in the barriers again in the second race the next day after spinning on cold tyres shortly after a pit-stop. He would finish the second race in twentieth place; one lap down on the leaders.

Despite the unfavourable finishing positions, Ferrucci stated after the event that he’d had a great time racing back home in the United States and that IndyCar was an exciting experience.

After today’s announcement that he will be returning for the final two races of the season, Ferrucci expressed his gratitude to Dale Coyne for giving him the chance to come back. He would go on to thank his long-term sponsors, Cly-Del – a manufacturing company from his home state of Connecticut – for helping him get back to the race track.

“I am extremely grateful to Dale [Coyne] and everyone at Dale Coyne Racing for giving me this opportunity to get back behind the wheel of an Indy car in Portland and Sonoma,” said Ferrucci. “I’m also excited to be bringing my long-time sponsor Cly-Del on board and introducing them to the world of IndyCar racing.

“I truly enjoyed my time with Dale Coyne Racing in Detroit earlier this season and I couldn’t be more excited to be back with them for a couple more races as I look to the future and enter the next chapter of my career.”

Santino Ferrucci (USA), Dale Coyne Racing, Detroit, Verizon IndyCar Series, 2018

Credit: Joe Skibinski / Courtesy of IndyCar

Today’s announcement of Ferrucci’s return may come as somewhat of a shock to some. Ferrucci made headlines for all the wrong reasons a month ago after being disqualified from the Formula 2 sprint race at Silverstone after stewards deemed he had made deliberate contact with his Trident team-mate Arjun Maini after the race had concluded. What made matters worse was that several smaller incidents had occurred during the weekend, including using his mobile phone whilst driving back to the support paddock and failing to visit the stewards after being summoned.

All of these incidents amounted to a total fine of approximately €66,000 on top of a ban from the next two events at the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps. However, news broke days later that Trident had elected to terminate Santino’s contract after it emerged that he had defaulted on a number of his payments to the team. A number of other allegations of potential abuse toward his team-mate Maini also came forward after these events.

Despite Santino’s somewhat torrid time in July, Dale Coyne himself stated that he was “excited” to have him back in a DCR Honda for the final two races of the IndyCar season. This time, Coyne will field a third car for Ferrucci, with Sebastien Bourdais and Pietro Fittipaldi driving alongside him as his team-mates.

“We were very impressed with Santino at Detroit this year, and not just by his performance behind the wheel, but also by his professionalism and maturity outside of the race car,” said Coyne. “We’ve had lengthy discussions with Santino in the past few months and we’re excited to have him back for the final two rounds of the season.

“We look forward to seeing what he will do with this opportunity as he gets back behind the wheel of an Indy Car. We’re also happy to welcome Cly-Del to our ever-growing family of sponsors.”

Dale Coyne Racing will be back in action this weekend for the 2018 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Ferrucci’s return will take place at Portland International Raceway on September 2.

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Reporter from the East of England. Covering the NTT IndyCar Series for The Checkered Flag. Also an eSports racing driver on iRacing.
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