until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


We rank the 2024 IndyCar line-ups from worst to best

9 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The 2024 IndyCar driver line-up only came together days before the season-opener, but the biggest moves had been made - or controversially abandoned - last summer.

We asked The Race team members to rank all 10 teams’ full-time line-ups from best to worst in their opinion, then combined them to come up with our definitive judgement.

10 Dale Coyne

Drivers Colin Braun, Jack Harvey/Nolan Siegel

Ranking 9 (four votes), 10 (three votes)

An all-new line-up with Jack Harvey in for 14 races and Nolan Siegel doing the other four, while the #51 car only has Braun confirmed for the first two races.

While Coyne has finished last in these rankings there’s plenty of nostalgic love for it from Matt Beer and Sam Smith.

“A bit of a surprise pick-and-mix driver line-up being announced what felt like hours before the opener is a bit retro from Coyne,” says Beer.

“It’s three quite interesting drivers rather than the pay driver nobodies that once propped the team up, but it’s a far cry from the days of running the likes of Justin Wilson or Sebastien Bourdais.”

There are “too many question marks” over Harvey, reckons Josh Suttill, but Andrew van de Burgt calls Braun “one of the finest sportscar races of his generation”.

No shortage of intrigue in this line-up but the mix of Harvey’s recent poor form - “he’s drunk from more last-chance saloons than Gary Cooper,” adds van de Burgt - and no idea what to expect from the other pair make this a tough sell.

9 AJ Foyt Racing

Drivers Santino Ferrucci, Sting Ray Robb

Ranking  9 (three votes), 10 (four votes)

A disappointing 2023 rookie (Sting Ray Robb) replaces a disappointing 2023 rookie (Benjamin Pedersen) in this team, and it's only Santino Ferrucci’s oval heroics that mean it has avoided the bottom spot.

“Ferrucci does harbour a lot of natural driving talent and he led AJ Foyt to an Indy 500 top-three last year, which I'm not convinced that many other drivers around the back of the grid could have done,” says Suttill.

Smith sums up the mood on Robb: “What to say about Sting Ray Robb, apart from the fact he probably should be doing something else in a series more compatible to his talents?”

8 Ed Carpenter Racing

Drivers Ed Carpenter/Christian Rasmussen, Rinus VeeKay

Ranking 7 (three votes), 8 (four votes)

Christian Rasmussen is the reigning Indy NXT champion, and its recent graduates have proven very handy in the IndyCar series. Team boss Ed Carpenter sharing a car means he shouldn’t be the victim of having to qualify first on the ovals (where the order is set on entrant points), which has certainly contributed to his recent poor form when he’s been in an occasional third car for a team that’s now cut down to two.

The big question is about race winner VeeKay. Beer says his “high points are often spectacular" but “the days when it seemed like he’d be fought over in the driver market seem a while ago”.

IndyCar correspondent Jack Benyon adds: “I sympathise with those who’ve expected more from VeeKay but it comes with the context that this team has focused more on the Indy 500 than most - and been left behind by the engineering focus other teams have invested in.”

7 Juncos Hollinger Racing

Drivers Agustin Canapino, Romain Grosjean

Ranking 6 (two votes), 7 (three votes), 8 (two votes)

Agustin Canapino was brilliant as a rookie with no single-seater experience and didn’t speak any English before joining the team, but Romain Grosjean is of course the name everybody is most interested in.

With Grosjean, van de Burgt summarises the situation well: “Which Grosjean will Juncos get? The breath of fresh air rookie he was at Coyne, or the sullen veteran he became at Andretti?”

Beer adds: “How many of the last two seasons’ list of missed opportunities were down to Grosjean and how many to Andretti?”

The big question is whether Grosjean will be a significant upgrade on Callum Ilott, who the team let go.

“An intriguing combination but if this team couldn’t really handle Canapino’s fanbase alongside Ilott the potential for division is even greater with Grosjean in there,” adds Scott Mitchell-Malm.

Smith calls the line-up “fast, feisty and ambitious but with a sensibility to be marvellously erratic”.

“Sit back and enjoy the (occasional) madness,” he adds.

6 Meyer Shank Racing

Drivers Tom Blomqvist, Felix Rosenqvist

Ranking 4 (one vote), 5 (one vote), 6 (three votes), 7 (one vote), 8 (one vote)

This new line-up was ranked as high as fourth and as low as eighth, the biggest disparity of any team.

At the core of the debate is which Felix Rosenqvist Meyer Shank will get, the one with the amazing resume from any series he’s raced in or the one hammered by Pato O’Ward at McLaren and with the most DNFs in the series in 2023?

Tom Blomqvist also has a similarly impressive resume but a combination of returning to single-seaters after so long and failing to deliver any starring cameos last year has some people cautious.

Smith ranked the team fourth, saying: “I know this will be contentious putting Meyer Shank’s pairing above the McLaren guys but I believe Rosenqvist and Blomqvist have the skills necessary to be consistent dark horses.

“Whether or not they have the package beneath them is a different matter but on pure talent I rate them higher.”

Suttill reckons “at the peak of their powers, this is a really top line-up” and Mitchell-Malm calls this a “much more interesting combination” than the team’s previous line-ups.

"I see why Shank took these drivers as some of the best available," adds Benyon, "But I do wonder, given how far off competing for good results it was last year, if it should have gone for at least one proven, consistent IndyCar driver with heaps of experience. Especially on road and street courses."

5 Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Drivers Pietro Fittipaldi, Christian Lundgaard, Graham Rahal

Ranking 5 (five votes), 6 (two votes)

Pietro Fittipaldi got the nod over Juri Vips, despite the latter’s incredibly impressive cameos in 2023, but Fittipaldi also has need for redemption after a couple of failed Dale Coyne stints that didn’t give him a chance to show what he’s capable of.

“In a solid, mid-ranking team like this, I can see him performing above expectations,” says Beer of Fittipaldi.

There’s no doubt from anyone that Lundgaard is a “star” according to Beer and should be “top of the list for Penske in 2025” in Suttill’s eyes.

“Rahal had a lot of bad luck last year but he’s about as safe a pair of hands as you can get and an underrated and invaluable point-scoring asset for any team,” reckons Benyon

Mitchell-Malm and Smith are a bit harsher with their ranking, saying this is a midfield line-up.

4 Arrow McLaren

Drivers David Malukas, Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi

Ranking 4 (six votes), 5 (one vote)

It’s clear Pato O’Ward ranks among the top drivers in the series but there are doubts about Alexander Rossi’s peaks and even more concerns over whether David Malukas can perform at this end of the grid after two years at Coyne.

“O’Ward is the one lifting this team above others but it’s still one of the stronger three-car line-ups,” says Mitchell Malm.

“If Malukas’ St Pete stand-in Ilott was in the line-up all year, this team would be at least one place higher on my list,” adds Beer.

“Malukas had some superb moments at Coyne and does seem to keep getting better, but you wouldn’t yet expect him to be a title contender and that’s what a team of this ambition level needs.”

Rossi had a good first year with McLaren reckons Benyon, but it’s been “sometime since we’ve seen the Indy 500 winner and pole and race dominating Rossi that has been there in the past.

“No excuses in 2024, this is when he proves he’s cut out for the IndyCar sharp end or he falls back into a middling option for the front half of the grid.”

"Despite two years in the series Malukas is still the second youngest driver at 22," adds Benyon. "We don't know if he can perform at the top level in a top team, but he hasn't had the chance to yet, either."

3 Andretti Global

Drivers Marcus Ericsson, Colton Herta, Kyle Kirkwood

Ranking 1 (one vote), 2 (two votes), 3 (four votes)

Grosjean and Devlin DeFrancesco out, down to three cars and Marcus Ericsson in. It ensures the team has an Indianapolis 500 winner and someone with more experience and a more consistent approach in Ericsson than his young, rapid team-mates.

Many feel focusing on three cars, and adding Ericsson, can turn around this team’s fortunes. That’s not a driver rankings question per se, so what do our writers make of this line-up?

“Imperfect but a really exciting one,” says Beer, “though after many years of not achieving what his ability actually merits, you have to wonder if Herta is in the right environment. He and Kirkwood are such talents, though, and Ericsson has been a revelation in IndyCar.”

Smith reckons Herta is “bruised” after an “awful” 2023, so “he will need some big early performances”.

There’s no doubt over Herta and Kirkwood’s ability here, a reason why Andretti got a nod for the best line-up from Beer, but questions remain over Ericsson’s peak pace and his team-mates’ consistency over a season. 

A lot will depend on if these drivers are given the equipment to compete to the level they are capable of, so they are able to prove their mettle.

2 Chip Ganassi Racing

Drivers Marcus Armstrong, Scott Dixon, Linus Lundqvist, Alex Palou, Kyffin Simpson

Ranking 1 (three votes) 2 (two votes), 3 (two votes)

There are two camps here, those that have put Ganassi top based on Alex Palou (that controversial not-actually-moving part of the silly season) and Scott Dixon, and those that have effectively marked it down for the inexperience of its other three drivers.

“Can Armstrong sufficiently build on his rather quiet rookie year?” asks Beer. “Can Lundqvist carry all that promise of the 2023 cameos into a full season? Is Simpson actually ready for this?”

Benyon reckons “if you had to choose two IndyCar drivers to start a team, you’d definitely have Palou, and then you might take Newgarden or O’Ward, but just imagine the experience Dixon would bring even if you had him for less time.

“For me, irrelevant of the other three and what they may or may not do, Palou and Dixon elevate and represent the best line-up based on what we’ve seen in recent years.

“Choosing between Ganassi and Penske is a bit like choosing between a kick between the legs and a punch in the face, there are pros and cons to both that make it almost a non-question."

1 Team Penske

Drivers Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Will Power

Ranking 1 (three votes), 2 (three votes), 3 (one vote)

It’s a line-up that’s got an unchanged core going into a fourth season. Josef Newgarden added a 500 win last year, Will Power started 2023 in the worst possible way as his wife had a very serious illness, and Scott McLaughlin remained one of the series’ best road course racers while improving his oval technique.

Mitchell-Malm sums up the feeling for the line-up well: “The most balanced, the most dependable, the most ‘would be on any of these drivers being on the podium on any given race’ line-up of the lot."

The only real question is whether Palou’s recent form single handedly pushes Ganassi ahead of it.

“It’s a close call between Newgarden and Palou when it comes to the absolute best driver on the grid” adds Beer, “and McLaughlin’s IndyCar achievements so far are incredible.”

“All three drivers are potential champions and they should be a factor in every race,” argues van de Burgt.

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