By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
Oriol Servia has reportedly raised half the funding for a Verizon IndyCar Series drive in 2017.
The question is where does he fit in at?
While Servia only has one win to his credit (Montreal, 2005), the 42-year-old Spaniard has built up a reputation of being a solid, team playing driver that you end up getting more than you paid for.
He managed to finish second in the 2005 Champ Car World Series championship after replacing the injured Bruno Junqueira at Newman Haas racing three races in. His second stint at Newman Haas in 2011 was almost as equally impressive.
Partnered with seasoned engineer Craig Hampson, Servia became one of the most competitive drivers in the series against the likes of Dario Franchitti, Will Power and Scott Dixon. He managed to give them a run for their money and ultimately ended the season fourth in the championship.
His results since then have been relatively solid, with a highlight being a fourth place finish at the 2012 Indianapolis 500 driving for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing. He stayed with that team until they scaled back following the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and he has raced part time ever since.
When Will Power needed a relief driver earlier this season at St. Petersburg, Servia slid into the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet like he had never left and ran solid despite never having driven on a road course with the Chevrolet aero kits before.
He managed to get a ride for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports which resulted in a solid race starting 10th and finishing 12th.
With everything being considered, we come back to the opening question, where would Oriol Servia fit in best? Let’s have a look at the available rides in IndyCar today.
AJ Foyt Racing
With AJ Foyt Racing looking to have two new drivers and the team more than likely shifting to Chevrolet for 2017, they are looking to rebuild after a frustrating last couple of seasons.
The team is known to be in talks with Carlos Munoz to drive one of the team’s cars, although nothing is set yet. With Munoz in mind, Servia could fit in nicely at the team. The team needs a mix of youth and experience and Servia has the experience side covered.
With the team in a rebuilding phase, someone with the experience and feedback of Servia can be invaluable to a team like AJ Foyt Racing.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
A ride with easily the best Honda team on the grid could possibly pay dividends for both sides. It is known that if RLL Racing wants to expand to a second car alongside Graham Rahal, they want to have an experienced driver rather than a rookie.
Servia has worked with RLL on a number of occasions in the past, most recently being the 2015 Indianapolis 500. He also ran a few extra races before the 500 in 2014 where he outpaced Rahal on a number of occasions and came close to winning the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis before he had to stop for fuel with five laps to go.
With a previously good reputation at the team, a return to Rahal could be beneficial for all parties involved.
Dale Coyne Racing
While the second Dale Coyne Racing car is usually on the lower end of funding, this might not be a bad choice either. Coyne recently hired Servia’s former teammate Sebastien Bourdais as well as chief engineer Craig Hampson for a full-fledged effort.
Much like the scenario at RLL, the familiarity aspect makes the team a good choice and Servia’s team player role can support the efforts of Bourdais.
The only pitfall is that the No. 19 Honda is usually reserved to a driver that can exclusively bring money to the table and will not race for a salary. While Servia has raised some money, he would need a full season’s budget in order to make the Coyne ride likely.