American driver Santino Ferrucci will pair with open-wheel racing veteran Sebastien Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing for the 2019 IndyCar Series season.
Ferrucci made his IndyCar debut during June’s doubleheader event in Detroit after part-time Coyne pilot Pietro Fittipaldi broke his legs in a sports car racing crash in Belgium. Fittipaldi was signed up to split driving duties with fellow rookie Zachary Claman De Melo throughout 2018.
Similar to the shuffled plans for the No. 19 Honda, Ferrucci’s 2018 season featured unexpected twists. The Connecticut native was fined, banned for multiple races and ultimately dropped from his Formula 2 team after lashing out at his teammate and committing other offenses at the Silverstone Circuit in July.
Visits to Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway for the final two rounds of the year led to finishes of 20th and 11th for Ferrucci. He qualified 13th for the second of the two Detroit races but ended the event with 22nd- and 20th-place results.
Yet to race on an oval, Ferrucci completed his rookie orientation during a private team test at Texas Motor Speedway last month. The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 will mark his oval debut.
“We were very happy with Santino’s performances this season in the races he did with us,” team owner Dale Coyne said. “He showed a lot of maturity and the desire to learn and to keep improving.
“Had it not been for some unfortunate luck at Portland and again at Sonoma, he could have picked up even better results than what he did. We’re very excited to have him back full-time in 2019 and seeing how he continues to grow and perform throughout the season.”
The first IndyCar race of 2019 on the streets of St. Petersburg will mark Ferrucci’s fifth start in the series and the beginning of his first full season.