Palou to replace Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing? (Update)

Alex Palou
Alex Palou

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

12/02/19 reports that James Hinchcliffe is on Dale Coyne's shortlist of drivers to replace Sebastien Bourdais, but said that F2 ace Sergio Sette Camara and Super Formula race winner Alex Palou are also in the running.

Asked directly about Palou, who won a race and finished third in Japan’s Super Formula championship this year, Coyne told “No, he hasn’t signed yet. We’ll see.

Alex was highly impressive when he tested for us at Mid-Ohio. He was 0.8 sec quicker than Felipe Nasr in the Arrow [Schmidt Peterson] car, and Nasr had the advantage of knowing the track. So yeah, Palou did a hell of a job considering everything was new to him."

Asked if the 22-year-old Spaniard came with Honda backing, Coyne replied: “No, although Honda are really high on him. But actually, that’s the rub: in all honesty, I think they’d like to keep him in Super Formula. It’s Alex who wants to move on.

“So no, it’s not a done deal yet. We’ve looked at about 10 drivers, and we’re down to three or four real quality guys. Spaniard Palou is one, Canadian Hinchcliffe is another, Brazilian Sette Camara is another, and the fourth one I don’t think you’d guess – and I wouldn’t tell you even if you did! [Editor's Note: Other F2 drivers at a dead end in their European careers and who might look to IndyCar include Swiss driver Louis Deletraz, British driver Callum Ilott and Japanese driver Nobuharu Matsushita who may come with Honda backing. Matsushita is the most accomplished of the bunch with 5 F2 wins and 5 fastest laps to his credit, and if he comes with Honda backing, he could get the seat. Honda will be looking to place a younger Japanese driver into IndyCar with Takuma Sato getting up there in years.]

“Camara did a great job in Abu Dhabi: he won the first race, and when they reversed the [top eight] grid for the sprint race, he came through to third; he’d be strong, I’m sure. But he’s looking at other teams, too, like Carlin."

Regarding prospective announcements, Coyne replied: “Honestly, we’re really hoping we’ll be able to make one announcement this side of Christmas and it will be everything at once – both drivers and the engineering staff.

“The Santino Ferrucci deal looks like it’s coming together and Olivier [Boisson] will be staying on as his race engineer. And it certainly looks like Craig [Hampson] will stay with us [as technical director and race engineer for the #18 car].

We have updated our 2020 IndyCar Silly Season page accordingly.

James Hinchcliffe
James Hinchcliffe

11/26/19 With Sebastien Bourdais now confirmed gone from IndyCar racing and off to IMSA where he can earn more money, speculation now centers on Honda spokesperson James Hinchcliffe to fill his seat at Dale Coyne Racing.

Hinchcliffe lost his Honda ride at Arrows McLaren SP when they switched to Chevy engines and the series and Honda have been scrambling to find him a ride for 2020 ever since.

When all seemed lost, lo and behold, a Honda seat opened up at Dale Coyne Racing with Bourdais' departure and it is expected Hinchcliffe has a good shot at filling it.

We have updated our 2020 IndyCar Silly Season page accordingly.

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