Silly season: who will fill empty IndyCar seats in 2017?

A rundown of the teams with seats to fill and the drivers in prime position to fill them.

AJ Foyt Racing

Anything is possible at AJ Foyt Racing with no drivers confirmed for the 2017 IndyCar season. A complete clear out of drivers is expected with Carlos Munoz leading the list of drivers hoping to land a drive.

Out of his ride at Andretti, Munoz is in advanced negotiations with Foyt. Jack Hawksworth will not be retained for 2017 after a lacklustre and mistake-prone 2016. Conor Daly has been publicly courting Foyt and would be a good fit for lead sponsor ABC Supply.

Plumping for the (relatively) inexperienced Daly could be a concern as Foyt rebuilds its engineering team in 2017. Munoz has four seasons under his belt but a more experienced driver – someone like Oriol Servia – might be preferred over Daly. Daly still stands out as the most likely pick to partner Munoz however.

Chip Ganassi Racing

Tony Kanaan will remain in the NTT Data #10 car alongside Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball. A fourth seat remains open but as reported previously Ganassi is keen to sign Max Chilton on a multi-year deal if he can continue bringing sponsorship to the team.

Ed Carpenter Racing

ECR have only to confirm the road and street course substitute for Ed Carpenter in 2017. JR Hildebrand will join Carpenter to replace Josef Newgarden meaning only a road/street course seat available.

Likely candidates for the part-time seat are Spencer Pigot, Luca Filippi and potentially Conor Daly. Pigot proved solid if unspectacular in 2016 but Ed Carpenter knows what can happen if young talent is given time to gain experience.

Filippi provided a strong support to Newgarden in 2015 and has proven pedigree on street and road courses. Similarly Sage Karam was rumoured to be in contention to replace Newgarden. The former Ganassi driver might pick up the consolation prize.

Dale Coyne Racing

Bourdais is back with Dale Coyne but it is unclear who will partner the Frenchman.

Coyne is keen to retain Conor Daly after a rookie season that offered many reasons for the American to be given at least a second full season. But financial considerations are never far away at Dale Coyne and a pay-driver is more than likely. This could be in the shape of Sage Karam or the likes of RC Enerson, Ed Jones or Matthew Brabham if they can find a decent budget.

KVSH Racing

Question marks hang over the future of the team as much as who will replace long-time driver Bourdais.

Rumours swirl that Kevin Kahlkoven is looking to get out of IndyCar team ownership. A possible sale to Trevor Carlin is one option that would allow the IndyLights team to step up to IndyCar. Whether the team would continue without Kahkoven’s considerable investment is unclear.

Considerations over future ownership of the team is likely to trump any decision on a driver for 2017.

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