Dale Coyne wants Pietro Fittipaldi Indy 500 replacement by next week

Dale Coyne Racing hopes to have a 2018 Indianapolis 500 replacement for the injured Pietro Fittipaldi in place by the end of next week

Dale Coyne wants Pietro Fittipaldi Indy 500 replacement by next week

Fittipaldi suffered a high-speed crash in qualifying for the World Endurance Championship season opener at Spa Francorchamps on Friday, suffering a compound fracture of his lower left leg and a broken right ankle.

The grandson of two-time Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi is now expected to take around eight weeks to recover, ruling him out of IndyCar's flagship race.

Fittipaldi is sharing a Dale Coyne Racing entry with Indy Lights graduate Zachary Claman de Melo, with the Brazilian racing in seven of the 17 races.

DCR owner Dale Coyne told Autosport that De Melo could be drafted in for the Indianapolis road course race, but is unsure on an Indy 500 drive.

"The most important thing is that Pietro is going to be OK," he said. "That's a nasty injury, although I'm surprised it was that bad from that shunt.

"I spoke to his dad and from what he says the doctors have told him, he should be back with us for Mid-Ohio, at the end of July.

"Zachary was already down to do Detroit, Road America, Iowa and Toronto, so no change there.

"So as far as standing in for him is concerned, we haven't talked to Zachary about the Indy 500.

"He's obviously the logical choice for the Indy road course next week but the 500, I don't know. It's a big step. We'd have to talk a little more about that.

"We'll also talk to PaySafe [De Melo's sponsor] on Monday about what they might want to do.

"Texas is another one I'm not so sure about Zachary doing at this [early] stage of his [IndyCar] career."

Coyne added that any bid for a replacement will be made easier by the fact that it has recent success at the Indy 500, with Sebastien Bourdais set for pole before his accident last year and Ed Jones finishing third in the race.

"The good thing is that after our Indy performance last year, we've got quite a few people interested," he said.

"This year, we've been strong on ovals again, Sebastien got pole at Phoenix and Pietro started [in the] top 10 for his first IndyCar race [at Phoenix].

"So I think we should have something figured out toward the end of next week, hopefully before then."

Fittipaldi did not run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week, unlike other rookies.

That means his replacement can complete the rookie orientation programme in his place, which was slated for May 15.

shares
comments
Patrick missed feeling 'relevant' in IndyCar while racing in NASCAR
Previous article

Patrick missed feeling 'relevant' in IndyCar while racing in NASCAR

Next article

Katherine Legge chasing Pietro Fittipaldi IndyCar stand-in role

Katherine Legge chasing Pietro Fittipaldi IndyCar stand-in role
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021