Q: Why do you think Felix has left Ganassi?
Jordan, Warwickshire, UK
RM: I heard Ganassi wasn’t pleased with his oval-track performance, but it may simply have been a matter of sponsorship, and we’ll know when we see whether NTT is back in 2021.
Q: I was really intrigued to read about Formula E champ Antonio Felix da Costa’s IndyCar test with RLL next month. What are the chances this leads to a ride with RLL or another IndyCar team? Would be exciting to see another driver of his caliber come to IndyCar.
Justin from CT
RM: I imagine if he brings $4 million he’s got a good chance at an IndyCar ride.
Q: What’s up with Simon Pagenaud’s future? A year ago it seemed set he would serve out his final contract year with Penske, then move over to be the experienced driver at AMSP. But that team now seems full.
Brian in Ohio
RM: The Indianapolis Star quoted Penske saying that all three drivers were returning in 2021 and Scott McLaughlin is also being added to the line-up, so I imagine 2021 will be Pagenaud’s swansong with The Captain. But as poorly as he’s run this season, I would be worried about being cut loose early.
Q: Check your radar for me, Robin. Are there any owners in any series interested in Montoya or Castroneves?
RM: I’m sure they could run IMSA, but they both want to return to IndyCar if they can find a good ride.
Q: I read your piece regarding DRR. Does Sage Karam have any chance to race next year if DRR decides to go in a different direction? In your opinion, will he ever get a full-time seat to see what he can do?
RM: I’m afraid Dennis has been Sage’s only salvation, and even though he’s only 25 it seems like he’s been passed over for even a younger generation. DRR didn’t rule out staying with him, but probably the only way he can move on in IndyCar is to find a big sponsor.
Q: Not saying that Sergio Perez from Formula 1 is the favorite, or even someone mentioned as a replacement for Askew. Just what are your thoughts on Perez if he made the switch to IndyCar?
Phillip Schmitz, Euless, TX
RM: His name was mentioned initially at AMSP when he lost his F1 ride and he and Pato would give IndyCar a massive crowd in Mexico City, but I’ve never seen him quoted about wanting to come over here.
Q: Did you watch the Rossi in-car video at the Harvest GP? Wow! What AA needs to do is prioritize the drivers in this order: Rossi, Herta, RHR and Hinch. Maybe the right engineer could jumpstart RHR or Hinch’s careers. Now, for the No. 98: Michael should give that car to Marco to run under the AA umbrella and find a deserving driver that can win! Marco finished behind Veach in points, so he really needs to retire. I am worried that McLaren is passing AA in success! This has been a horrible year for the entire team. Do you think Rossi is second-guessing his decision?
Dan, Lima, OH
RM: Hard to say why Rossi and engineer Jeremy Milles lost their way this season, but those things happen and they’ve been back on pace the past few races, so no reason to think they won’t be strong in 2021. Herta, Honda and Andretti gave Alexander a chance to make a career over here, so I imagine even though he’s been frustrated, I think he’s loyal to those people who believed in him. But another year like this one and he won’t be.
Q: Why doesn’t Jimmie Johnson pay for his Ganassi ride in 2021 out of his own pocket? Based on Jimmie Johnson’s reported earnings from NASCAR over his career, the cost of a limited season would be like small change for him. Shame he did not try IndyCar when he was at his peak.
Brian, Melbourne, Australia
RM: I think he will help find sponsorship for his IndyCar ride, but he’s way too smart to spend his own money.
Q: I’m curious about something with Roger Penske. He is not on the pit box these days during the races. That clearly makes sense regarding attending to various functions at IMS and as the owner/leader of the IndyCar Series. So to what degree has he separated himself from Team Penske in general? Do you think that is likely to continue in the foreseeable future?
Don Hopings, Cathedral City, CA
RM: I think R.P. talks to Tim Cindric all the time about their teams in IndyCar, NASCAR, IMSA and Australian Supercars, so he might not be as hands-on as before but he’s still plenty tuned in. And I don’t ever see him going back on the box – he doesn’t want any appearance Team Penske is getting special treatment.
Q: Reading the Oct. 14 Mailbag and people calling some of us whiners about the lack of oval racing, of which I was one. I not whining, I was just stating the fact that IndyCar’s heritage was built on oval racing. There was also a comment about attending these events, and I can say I have attended close to 40 Indy 500s, every race at Kentucky, every race at Michigan since the late ’80s, the last three races at Pocono and Gateway and at Texas! So I have a right to bitch!
Brian Lancaster, West Lafayette, IN
RM: Yes you do Brian, and I appreciate your loyalty and for giving me your history. Anyone invested like you can bitch all he wants. I totally understand the frustration of only having four oval races in 2021, but I just don’t see that trend getting better in the near future.
Q: I see all the comments about 2021 schedule but just saw a story on F1’s 2021 scheduling and the difference made me pause. Seems the people tasked with keeping F1 COVID-safe are suggesting the 2021 schedule could be a lot like 2020 schedule — not a schedule at all, but stops at opportune and ever-changing list of tracks/countries that can ‘safely’ absorb the F1 circus for two or three days. The 2021 IndyCar schedule may be missing a few tracks we’d all like to see, but at least we’ve got a schedule, something to look forward to. All credit to Roger Penske and his group for giving us that, as right now hope is a really nice thing to have. Do you see any repeats of the 2020 schedule next year?
Grant B., Visalia, CA
RM: I think it’s way too early to know what anyone’s schedule might look like in 2021. If tracks can’t have fans then IndyCar might have to be the promoter again, and right now we just don’t know.