By: Tanner Watkins
November 20, 2018 | 4:23 PM
After weeks of speculation, Dale Coyne Racing tied the knot with Santino Ferrucci on Tuesday and signed the American driver to his first full season of IndyCar Series competition in 2019.
Debuting with Coyne in place of the injured Pietro Fittipaldi at Detroit, Ferrucci convinced the experienced team owner to give him two more cameo appearances at Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway to close out the 2018 season.
Ferrucci recorded his best finish of the three races in that season finale where he placed 11th at Sonoma.
“I’ve said it before, I’m extremely grateful to Dale (Coyne) and everyone at Dale Coyne Racing for believing in me and for giving me this opportunity to race a full season in the IndyCar Series,” Ferrucci noted.
“I enjoyed the time I spent with the team this past year in the IndyCar Series and I’m looking forward to doing a full season with them. While I’ll still be considered a rookie, I feel like I’ve already gained valuable experience in IndyCar that will serve me well next season. However, I’m well aware that I still have a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to it.”
Ferrucci, who turns 21 in May, will remain a development driver for HAAS F1 while working full-time in the IndyCar Series.
A native of Woodbury, Connecticut, Ferrucci has yet to race on an oval in his brief career. He did spend a day in October testing with Dale Coyne Racing at Texas Motor Speedway and was able to pass the INDYCAR Oval Rookie Orientation Program.
“Testing in Texas as a rookie was very fun, Sebastien (Bourdais) gave me a lot of insight of things to look for and to train for. There’s a lot to learn about racing on an oval and I very much look forward to my first oval event being the Indy 500,” added Ferrucci.
Ferrucci will still have to take part in – and pass – the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program before attempting to qualify for the 103rd Running of the “500” in May.
“We were very happy with Santino’s performances this season in the races he did with us,” said Dale Coyne. “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.”
With only four starts under his belt in 2018, Ferrucci will remain a rookie for the 2019 season and is eligible to compete for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in a class that already includes talented drivers such as Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.