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The F1 interest at the Indy 500

RacingNews365.com highlights who should F1 fans look out for at the Indianapolis 500.

Romain grosjean racingnews365
To news overview © XPBimages

Another Indianapolis 500 Champion will be crowned on Sunday as the eyes of the motorsport world switch focus from the Monaco Grand Prix to the IndyCar series.

But with the spectacle of the race so high, many non-IndyCar fans will be drawn to the event - some for the very first time.

Here, RacingNews365.com highlights the drivers of interest for the F1 fans tuning into the Indy 500 ahead of the 250-lap race.

Former F1 drivers

Four former F1 drivers will line up on the grid for the Indy 500, three of which have already won the race.

Alexander Rossi secured victory in the 100th edition of the event and returns in his quest for a second triumph as part of a four-car Arrow McLaren effort. The American took part in a handful of F1 races in 2015 for Manor Marussia before making his switch to IndyCar. He will start from the inside of Row Three in seventh.

Former Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato has stepped back from a full-time IndyCar commitment and has instead signed an oval-only contract with Chip Ganassi Racing and begins his tilt at a third Indy 500 victory from eighth.

Defending Champion Marcus Ericsson starts from 10th, also for CGR. The Swede has found a home in IndyCar after leaving F1 without the opportunity to display his potential during stints with Caterham and Sauber.

Romain Grosjean has earned the most attention since switching to IndyCar following his horrific Bahrain Grand Prix crash in 2020 and having initially declined the chance to tackle ovals, made his Indy 500 debut last year. The former Renault, Lotus and Haas driver will start 19th for Andretti Autosport.

Test, junior and F2 drivers

A handful of familiar names that have been part of F1 teams' junior or test programmes, as well as competing in the F2 series.

Alex Palou broke records with his pole run last weekend for CGR, familiar to McLaren fans for his runs as part of TPC runs last year. The Spaniard was IndyCar champion in 2021.

Mexican Patricio O'Ward has also taken part in TPC runs as well as the post-season Young Drivers' Test and FP1 sessions for McLaren and has starred for the team's IndyCar programme. He starts from fifth.

Colton Herta is the third driver in the race to have completed a McLaren test last season and was tipped for an AlphaTauri seat this term, only to be thwarted by the FIA's Super Licence system. The American races for Andretti Autosport and starts from P21.

Former Ferrari junior Callum Ilott will start 27th for Juncos Hollinger Racing after surviving a nightmarish month to this point. The Briton has impressed since making the switch to America following his efforts as part of the F1 career ladder.

Former F2 rival Christian Lundgaard was a part of the Alpine Academy but has found pastures new Stateside. The Dane secured his first pole at the Indianapolis road course earlier this month but was forced to survive the Last Chance Qualifying session to ensure his place at the start. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver starts 30th.

Family relations

Two drivers in the field have ties to F1 through family members.

Conor Daly's father, Derek, was one of the drivers that lost out on the chance to win the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix - which finished in extraordinary circumstances - and drove for numerous teams including Tyrrell and Williams. Conor starts 16th for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Marco Andretti races for his father's team and starts P24. Michael endured a torrid stint with McLaren in 1993, but his dad, Mario, was a World Champion for Lotus in 1978 and has cemented his status as a motorsport legend.

One driver who won't be racing is Stefan Wilson, who was forced to withdraw after sustaining injuries in a practice crash at the start of the week.

The Briton is the younger brother of the late Justin Wilson, who raced for Minardi and Jaguar in F1 before becoming a race winner in Champcar and IndyCar.


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