Coyne looking to sign Fittipaldi and DeMelo for #19 car (3rd Update)

Pietro Fittipaldi
Pietro Fittipaldi

UPDATE Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi will join the IndyCar grid for 2018, having signed a part-time deal to race with Dale Coyne Racing according to Autosport.

Fittipaldi will share the #19 seat in 2018 and contest seven races, including the Indianapolis road course race and the Indy 500.

"This is a dream come true, even more so to be racing in the Indy 500, where my family already has a history of great results," said Fittipaldi.

"I want to thank the entire team at Dale Coyne Racing, along with [primary backer] Escuderia Telmex for this massive opportunity and important step in my career.

"It's no secret that I also have an objective to one day race in Formula 1, so I'm excited to be racing on a world stage like IndyCar this year."

02/04/18 Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi will test for the Dale Coyne Racing IndyCar team again in the coming week both at Sonoma on Monday and on the Phoenix oval in the Thursday rookie oval test.

Phoenix is hosting IndyCar's official 'spring training' pre-season test next Friday and Saturday, but Fittipaldi will drive one of DCR's Dallara-Hondas the day before all the regular drivers take to the track..

The new IndyCar windscreen will be tested on Thursday as well.

Drivers favor use of a windscreen over a Halo, if it doesn’t affect visibility through the curvature or material of it. That is the primary goal for Thursday’s test with Dixon: to check for visual acuity in daylight, at dusk and at night under track lighting.

INDYCAR is also mindful that a windscreen must not impede the safety team’s ability to extricate a driver from a crashed car. And the device must be durable enough to withstand debris without drastically impacting aerodynamics.

IndyCar's Jay Frye has emphasized that the series won’t implement the windscreen until it is proven ready.

“We’ve done simulation and the (scale-size) model, we’ve done everything except put it on a car on a track," Frye said. “That’s the next step. Even on that, there’s a process we’ll go through. Do we integrate it or not? If we do integrate it, how do we go forward? Is it a (2019) thing or is an end-of-’18 thing?

“Once we get it on the car, we’ll see how it affects the handling of the car. … We can collect the data on how it affected the car. That will make us better and better, knowing what we want to do and how we go forward."

Coyne hopes to sign at least two drivers in next two weeks
Coyne hopes to sign at least two drivers in next two weeks

02/04/18 In a recent conversation with IndyStar, Coyne said he anticipates announcing early next week that two primary drivers will pilot the No. 19 Honda during the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Those drivers, Coyne confirmed, are the oft-rumored Zachary Claman DeMelo and reigning World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi, who tested for Coyne last week at Sebring.

01/26/18 Dale Coyne has been seeking drivers “with talent and money," to run in car #19 this season.

Favorite was Canada’s Zachary Claman De Melo, who won a race for Carlin in Indy Lights in 2017 and then made his IndyCar debut with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the Sonoma finale.

Asked if he’s expecting to run two drivers in the #19 entry this season, Coyne told “I think we’ll have to run two – at least two – in that car.

"I don’t see anyone coming up with a full budget, and I need to have deals done by the end of next week, because then we test at Sonoma [on February 5].

“I don’t know who’s testing there. It could be Canada’s Zachary Claman De Melo, could be Formula 3.5 V8 champion Pietro Fittipaldi, could be a third guy. I don’t know yet."

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