There once was a time when Indy was considered not just a stepping stone to F1, but a viable alternative. Those were the days when proven grand prix drivers looking for a new challenge – drivers like like Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Graham Hill and Mario Andretti – could take to America's fastest ovals and obtain glory on par with Europe's finest circuits. Those days may seem long behind us, but they could be coming back around.

The road to Indy's revival as a premier racing series is being paved with a number of developments. The reunion of the IRL and ChampCar series was one major stepping stone. The arrival of multiple engine suppliers this year is another. But what Indy really needs is big name talents instead of losing its stars to NASCAR. And it just might be getting what it needs, thanks in no small part to Lotus.

After bringing former F1 driver Takuma Sato to Indy, Lotus announced it had signed notable former grand prix pilots Jean Alesi and Sebastien Bourdais to IndyCar contracts as well. So who's next? Rubens Barrichello.

The elder statesman of the F1 grid, Barrichello was left without a ride when Williams showed him the door in favor of fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna. Now reports indicate that he is gearing up for a test drive with KV Racing, the team with which Lotus returned to American open-wheels a couple of years ago.

While Rubens has no oval-track experience and reportedly promised his wife he wouldn't try it, the 2012 schedule – having come a long way from the oval-dominated days of yore – includes only four speedways (those at Indianapolis, Texas, Iowa and Fontana, California), leaving Rubens with a real opportunity to contest the remaining dozen road courses and street circuits on the calendar.


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  • 20 Comments
      level4
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can understand not wanting to race an indycar on a high banked oval like Texas or Las Vegas but Indy is a different animal. It has 4 tight 90 degree turns each seperated by a straight with minimal banking not 2 big long high banked sweeping turns like every other NASCAR track. Its more of a road course with only 4 left turns.
      Scott
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not sure I'd say Lotus is bringing him to INDYCAR since he is testing for KV Racing which is now a Chevrolet team and no longer affiliated with Lotus. Details...
      Ross
      • 2 Years Ago
      The link between Indycar and Barrichello has less to do with Lotus and more to do with Tony Kanaan. KV Racing Technology will be a Chevrolet team this year and that is who he is testing for. Tony Kanaan drives for KV, and I understand Kanaan and Barrichello are very good friends. Nevertheless, if he chooses to race in Indycar, even if it is for the road and street courses only, it could be a HUGE win for Indycar. As I pointed out earlier, if HALF of Ruben's Twitter followers watched him race Indycar on the NBC Sports Network (former Versus), it would DOUBLE the tv ratings for the race. That's big...
      Allie
      • 2 Years Ago
      There are so many things wrong with this article, its unreal. For a start, I can't believe your comment about Mario Andretti - proven F1 driver looking for a challenge on ovals? He came from Ovals. He won the Indy 500 in 1969 before he even started driving in F1. He's a Indycar driver who drove in F1. Lotus have nothing to do with it -KV are Chevy, not Lotus and its all about Tony Kanaan, who is best friends with Rubens. And Sato wasn't brought to Indycar by Lotus, it was Honda. Its the reason he won't be with KV but RLL as he's a Honda backed driver. And if Indycar can get Rubens to take part in even just Sao Paulo, that'd be big for Indycar. To take part in all the road/street courses would be huge. Looks like he had a couple of weeks off and wanted to get back in a car.
      AggressiveDriver
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow I didnt know that Kelsey Grammer was a race car driver!
        JR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AggressiveDriver
        ...just don't put him in a Viper.
      Lemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Really looking forward to IRL this season. 2013 will be even better with the manufacturer specific aero packages. Also- REALLY glad they're racing primarily on road courses! Let NASCAR have the ovals
        Ross
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lemon
        Just an FYI. The IRL doesn't exist anymore. It is officially Indycar. :)
      f1rst 1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Holy Cankles!
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Krishan Mistry
      • 2 Years Ago
      How different, mechanically, is an Indy Car to an F1 car? Sticking to road courses should be familiar too, and safer than running such high downforce cars on high speed ovals. Of course, Indy and ovals historically work together just well, as in the Indy 500, I think such light, agile cars are better left to street circuits and road courses. Glad to see some well proven talent back in Indy.
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Krishan Mistry
        IndyCars will be running 2.6L V6s running 650hp. They also have longer gears, which gives them slower 0-60s than an F1 car. F1 cars are running around 800hp with 2.4L V8s and have short gears, giving them 0-60s under 2 seconds. They also run at higher RPMs, whereas IndyCars run anywhere between 11,000 and 15,000RPM. The design of both cars are considerably different. F1 cars are designed to take on lower speeds on a road course, while IndyCars are designed to take on high speeds at over 200mph on ovals, with differentiating aero bits made for the road courses they do race on.
      • 2 Years Ago
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