Will the Ferrari-to-IndyCar Rumors Ever Amount to Anything?

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Honda and Chevrolet have been the primary engine manufacturers for IndyCar racing – North America’s highest open-wheel-single-seater formula racing car series – currently known as the NTT IndyCar Series. In 1986, Ferrari designed a car for Indy, known then as CART. Since this moment in history, rumors have floated that the Italian automotive powerhouse would enter the racing league as a third manufacturer.

These rumors have been more prominent over the past decade, but nothing has come to fruition. Let’s look at a recent timeline of how Ferrari’s name and IndyCar continue to be in the mix.

Ferrari looks for options during the pandemic

In May 2020, Ferrari’s Formula One team principal, Mattia Binotto, highlighted the new 2021 budget cap announcement of $145 million would cause redundancies among staff, and the Italian car manufacturer was looking at alternatives to give their employees hope.

“Ferrari feels a lot of social responsibility towards its employees, and we want to be sure that for each of them, there will be workspace in the future,” Binotto said.

“For this reason, we have started to evaluate alternative programs, and I confirm that we are looking at IndyCar, which is currently a very different category from ours.

This reasoning didn’t result in Ferrari joining IndyCar, as Binotto later confirmed in 2020 that IndyCar was no longer a part of the plan. He did mention that IndyCar would be considered in the future, specifically when the series introduces its new hybrid-assisted powertrain package in 2023.

Ferrari, IndyCar, and hybrid

Ferrari,-IndyCar,-and-hybrid

In 2018, IndyCar announced their plans to introduce a new engine formula to the series that included a 2.4 liter twin-turbo V6 engine with hybrid power – resulting in a 900-horsepower increase.

IndyCar has actively attempted to bring a third engine supplier on board for 12 years, and still, no signs of a new manufacturer are in sight. There are countless reasons as to why, including the low TV ratings that give value to a manufacturer of participation low. But still, Ferrari continues to flirt with the idea and hasn’t officially ruled out the idea.

A kickback from Honda could have also kept Ferrari at bay. Ted Klaus, Honda’s former Performance Development President, rejected the idea of introducing hybrid formula in different phases. But this didn’t prevent IndyCar President Jay Frye.

“A year or so ago, we announced our intentions of what was going to happen,” said Frye in August 2020.

“Since then, obviously what’s gone on with COVID, the pandemic, everybody was shut down for two or three months earlier this year; what does that look like? We’re in constant communication with both our manufacturers. We have every intention of going forward, as we’ve always said. We’re not exactly sure how that will look again in the future because of all of what’s happened.”

Two years later, the new hybrid engines are due in 2023, and Ferrari has made no official announcement. We should assume that 2022, and 2023, will be another year where IndyCar doesn’t boast a third manufacturer.

From a fan’s perspective, it’s a shame they can’t enjoy a third manufacturer; the arrival of Ferrari would undoubtedly boost a viewer’s experience at locations such as the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. DraftKings Ohio promo would definitely benefit, and we know Ferrari would soon become a sports bettor’s favorite with its success and experience in motor racing.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t bet on Ferrari’s arrival in IndyCar anytime soon. Perhaps they’ll evaluate IndyCar’s debut season with the hybrid engines and enter the market based on its success.

Five reasons why Ferrari hasn’t entered the IndyCar series so far:

Five-reasons-why-Ferrari-hasn't-entered-the-IndyCar-series-so-far
  1. Hybrid engines arrive in IndyCar in 2023, fourteen years after they were introduced in Formula One racing – late to the party!
  1. Manufacturers are shifting their focus from hybrid to 100% electric passenger cars.
  1. IndyCar’s TV-license deals are usually for the USA. Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes, and the world’s most dominant manufacturers sell their vehicles globally. IndyCar cannot provide worldwide exposure.
  1. IndyCar races are US based, besides one race in Canada. With minimal international exposure, global manufacturers will struggle to see the positives.
  1. IndyCar races at IMS three times yearly to cater to their small domestic-only schedule. When racing on a road course, the stands look empty. This isn’t appealing to any manufacturer.
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