The 5 Best Ex F1 Drivers in Indycar Today

These Drivers Brought Their F1 Skills to Indycar and Are Dominating the Series

IndyCar has long been recognized as a breeding ground for exceptional driving talent, attracting a diverse array of international stars seeking new challenges and opportunities beyond the Formula 1 paddock. These drivers bring with them a wealth of experience, technical prowess, and a burning desire to conquer new frontiers on the high-speed ovals and road courses of North America.

In this blog, we will celebrate the achievements and explore the careers of the five standout ex-F1 drivers currently competing in the IndyCar series. From their F1 accomplishments to their seamless transitions into IndyCar, we will analyze their driving styles, adaptability to the unique demands of American racing, and their impact on the IndyCar championship.


Number 1. Callum Ilott – Juncos Hollinger Racing



In the realm of motorsport, hailing from Cambridge, England, is a prodigious 24-year-old driver who once graced the prestigious Ferrari academy. Initiated into this esteemed institution in 2017, his journey came to a close in 2021. While a member, he gained valuable experience as a test driver, making a noteworthy appearance for Haas during a single race in 2020, followed by two appearances for Alfa Romeo in 2021.

Seeking new horizons, this formidable talent made a pivotal move from the realms of F2 to the fiercely competitive world of IndyCar in the latter part of 2021. It was there that Ilott encountered his maiden outing in the revered Indy 500, a race steeped in history and adulation. In the 2022 edition, his inaugural venture, he secured a commendable P32 finishing position, etching his name onto the annals of this prestigious event.


Number 2. Marcus Ericsson – Chip Ganassi



The illustrious realm of Speedway bears witness to the return of Marcus Ericsson, the seasoned campaigner who once adorned the colors of Caterham and Sauber in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula 1. Now, as the reigning champion of Indy, Ericsson rekindles his passion for high-speed competition on the hallowed grounds once again. It was on his fourth attempt in 2022, while donning the esteemed Chip Ganassi livery, that the Swedish maestro emerged triumphant, crossing the finish line ahead of all others in the 106th edition of this storied race.

A captivating saga unfolded as Ericsson engaged in a fierce duel with a fellow contender, Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren. Their relentless battle gripped the hearts of onlookers, but fate would intervene in the form of a late yellow flag, sealing Ericsson’s fate as the victor, ultimately claiming the spoils of victory.

Returning to the fray in 2023 with the esteemed Chip Ganassi team, the 32-year-old Scandinavian sensation continues to make waves. Currently positioned third in the standings, Ericsson has already etched his mark on the season opener in St. Petersburg, seizing a well-deserved triumph. With his indomitable spirit and unwavering determination, Ericsson is poised to script yet another chapter of greatness in the annals of Speedway’s esteemed legacy.


Number 3. Romain Grosjean – Andretti Autosport



In the enthralling realm of motorsport, a familiar countenance graces the standings, drawing the attention of avid Formula 1 enthusiasts. None other than Romain Grosjean, a stalwart who once donned the vibrant colors of Haas in the world of F1, now finds himself in the exhilarating domain of IndyCar. This transition to a new racing endeavor, which materialized in 2021 following his departure from Formula 1 the previous year, bears testament to Grosjean’s remarkable resilience, particularly in light of his harrowing crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Initially, Grosjean opted to compete exclusively in the captivating road and street races within the IndyCar calendar. However, he took a bold step forward by participating in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 in 2021, setting the stage for a full-fledged campaign the following year. For the 2022 season, the Frenchman aligned himself with the formidable Andretti team, ultimately clinching a commendable 13th position in the final standings.

The dawn of 2023 has witnessed a resurgent Grosjean, marking an auspicious start to his campaign. The tenacious driver has already graced the podium on two occasions, demonstrating his versatility as he deftly balances his time between IndyCar and the esteemed IMSA SportsCar Championship.

As the forthcoming edition of the Indy 500 beckons, Grosjean finds himself preparing for his second appearance in this illustrious event. Last year, his debut venture culminated in a 31st-place finish, an experience that has undoubtedly provided him with valuable insights and learnings. With his unwavering determination and the burning desire to excel, Grosjean is poised to script a new chapter of triumph and redemption at this revered race.


Number 4. Takuma Sato – Chip Ganassi Racing



In the dynamic realm of IndyCar, there exists a seasoned veteran who commands respect and admiration: Takuma Sato, a tenacious 46-year-old driver with a remarkable career spanning over 14 years and 216 races. However, prior to his illustrious tenure in IndyCar, Sato honed his skills during a six-year stint in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula 1.

Sato’s journey into Formula 1 commenced with the support of Honda, as he joined the ranks of the Honda-powered Jordan team in 2002. In his debut season, he showcased flashes of brilliance, securing a notable fifth-place finish in his home race while concluding the year in the 15th position in the standings. However, as the team transitioned to British American Racing, Sato was relegated to the role of test driver. His sole race appearance in 2003 materialized in the season’s finale, where he exhibited his prowess by clinching a commendable sixth-place finish in Japan.

A return to a full-time seat in 2004 saw Sato achieve his crowning glory in Formula 1, securing his solitary podium finish at the famed United States Grand Prix held at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While his F1 career reached its conclusion midway through the 2008 season, Sato’s passion for competition led him to forge a new path in IndyCar, where he debuted in 2010 and has remained ever since.

Although Sato’s championship standings in IndyCar have never ascended higher than seventh, he has etched his name into the annals of the revered Indy 500 as an expert in the discipline. The Japanese maestro first tasted victory in the iconic event in 2017, steering Andretti to their most recent triumph. He then demonstrated his mettle once again in 2020, securing another glorious victory, this time with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

In the preceding year’s edition, Sato concluded the race in the 25th position while driving for Dale Coyne Racing. However, this year presents a fresh opportunity as he embarks on a new chapter, representing the revered Chip Ganassi team at the iconic race. With his wealth of experience and unwavering determination, Sato aims to add another illustrious chapter to his storied Indy 500 legacy.


Number 5. Pato O’Ward – Arrow McLaren




On the cusp of Formula 1, an aspiring young talent named Pato O’Ward awaits his chance to shine. While he has yet to grace an official F1 race, O’Ward seized a valuable opportunity during the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, completing an FP1 session with McLaren. This remarkable experience has only fueled his desire to secure a permanent seat in the pinnacle of motorsport alongside the esteemed Woking-based team.

The Mexican prodigy stands tall among a group of promising young drivers on the verge of breaking into the fiercely competitive realm of Formula 1. In the early stages of the 2023 season, O’Ward’s performances have been nothing short of impressive, bolstering his bid for a coveted spot on the grid. Though victory has eluded him thus far, the determined driver has secured an impressive trio of second-place finishes in three of the opening five events. In fact, only Alex Palou has accumulated more points than the tenacious O’Ward, solidifying his reputation as a formidable contender.

As the young driver’s career unfolds, his record at the iconic Indy 500 paints a picture of constant improvement year after year. Starting with a disappointment in 2019 resulting in a non-qualification, O’Ward swiftly rebounded, achieving a commendable sixth-place finish in 2020, followed by an impressive fourth-place finish in 2021. The pinnacle of his Indy 500 journey arrived in the previous edition, where O’Ward fought tenaciously to secure a closely-contested second-place finish, narrowly missing out on victory.

Entering the 2023 season, O’Ward emerges as one of the frontrunners, boasting a strong foundation of talent and determination. Eager to conquer new heights, he sets his sights on surpassing previous achievements, aiming to ascend to the top step of the podium. Furthermore, O’Ward’s presence on the track will be accentuated by an all-black livery, paying homage to McLaren’s historic triumph with the F1 GTR at the iconic 1995 Le Mans race. As the story of O’Ward continues to unfold, the racing world eagerly awaits his next chapter, brimming with anticipation for his future endeavors in Formula 1.