INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The female-forward team of Paretta Autosport announced Tuesday that they will be back on track this IndyCar season, but in an unexpected move, the team also revealed they do not plan to run in next month’s Indianapolis 500.
“It’s a smart competition decision and a smart business decision. And both of those things are weighed equally, especially if you’re in Ed’s or my chair,” Beth Paretta, team principal, said.
Paretta says a alliance with Ed Carpenter Racing will give her team an opportunity to expand their IndyCar schedule to three races this season versus a one-off appearance in the Indianapolis 500.
The team is set to run at Road America, Mid-Ohio, and the Music City Grand Prix with Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro.
“Beth and I have discussed varieties of ways of trying to collaborate on her dreams and Paretta Autosport over the past couple of years. It took us a little while to find the right fit, but we’re finally there,” Carpenter said.
Paretta says she has had conversations about scenarios in which her team could run in the Indianapolis 500, but was not willing to compromise on the additional street course races.
“People approached me in the past two months, asking me to reconsider the 500, but I was unwilling to not do the road and street courses that we were planning to do. For me, it was not an ‘either or,’ it had to be an ‘and,’ and it just wasn’t a good fit,” Paretta said. “What we’re doing is growth for my team. It’s getting our women to new places. It’s getting Simona to new places. And, if our intention is to be a full-time team, this is a better investment in us.”
Paretta tells News 8 that nearly 70% of last year’s crew, made up of mostly women, will return for 2022, in addition to de Silvestro. The team’s inaugural season saw support from all over the world as they qualified in dramatic Bump Day fashion, according to Paretta.
“With Team Penske, the support and training of our crew of women last year was invaluable,” Paretta said. “The momentum that we built was critical to us telling our story, but it brings us to where we are today.”
Paretta promises future runs in the Indianapolis 500, but without the No. 16 Chevrolet entry, there is a hole in the grid for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment, says he expects to have a full field at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.
“A lot has been written about having secured 32 cars. I think we can pretty much guarantee there will be 33 cars and I wouldn’t rule out maybe even one more beyond that,” Miles said. “I think it’s going to be a full field and I think it’s going to be a hugely exciting race.”