Santino Ferrucci can expect to have dozens of eyes from inside the Verizon IndyCar Series watching his every move in the coming weeks.
Having signed to drive No. 39 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing at Portland and Sonoma to close the 2018 season, Ferrucci brings an exceptional amount of baggage back to the series where he made a pair of starts at Detroit in June.
The court of public opinion has made its findings known with Ferrucci. The American’s actions on and off the track during the July Formula 2 round at Silverstone, both proven and alleged, have left some with feelings of anger or embarrassment regarding the 20-year-old’s behavior.
Those actions, however, which resulted in a four-race ban by the F2 series, plus being dropped and sued by his Trident Racing team for monies allegedly owed to the Italian outfit, took place in a championship with no ties to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Simply put, with IndyCar serving as its own sanctioning body, the punishments assigned by the FIA with its F2 series have no bearing on Ferrucci’s ability to race in IndyCar for Coyne. It raises the question of if and how the American open-wheel series will monitor the Connecticut product when he arrives in Portland.
From a procedural standpoint, IndyCar competition president Jay Frye says the 20-year-old will be treated without bias when he turns up to drive.
“We had a weekend with him in Detroit and it went well,” Frye told RACER. “Are we involved? Absolutely. We’re involved with all of them every day. We wouldn’t treat him any differently than any other competitor.
“But like all we do with all our competitors, including rookies, we’ll monitor them to make sure we’re seeing what we expect from them. The rookies are required to take part in the team manager meetings with our race stewards, and that’s where our expectations for them are conveyed.”
And while Frye insists Ferrucci will not receive extra layers of oversight by the series during the final two rounds, he anticipates a bit of informal policing among the driver ranks will keep the rookie in line.
“And one of the things in IndyCar, which is unique, is there’s a lot of coaching from the veteran drivers, on and off the track, and they’re the example of how you’re meant to conduct yourself,” he added. “We’re very proud of that, and in that environment, I know our drivers will make it clear what’s acceptable and what’s not.”