In the 2022 season of the IndyCar Series, North America's premier formula car race, a total of 17 races were held, and 17 drivers (including spot entries) participated as Honda engine users.
For the Honda team, it was a season where they challenged for three consecutive victories at the biggest event in the series, the Indy 500, three consecutive drivers' titles, and five consecutive manufacturers' titles. Takuma Sato, the only Japanese driver to date, is in his 13th year of racing and has joined Dale Coyne Racing with RWR for his first season.
Takuma Sato finishes 10th in his first race after transfer
The opening round was held earlier than usual on February 27 at the St. Petersburg street course. Even though it was the end of February, the race was held in temperatures close to 30°C and strong sunshine, and last year's champion Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) finished 2nd. It was a good start for the title defense.
In this tournament, Sato who reached the milestone of 200 races in total sank to 22nd place in the qualifying, but he made a big leap in the final and finished 10th. Sato said, "The crew did a fantastic job," and he emphasized the goodness of teamwork.
Herta takes first victory for Honda in Round 5
The early stages of the race progressed in a situation where the Honda cars were on the podium, but it was difficult to win. The race was held at the road course of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport w / Curb-Agajanian) won. Simon Pagenaud (Meyer Shank Racing) came in 2nd, giving Honda the first win of the season with a one-two finish.
Sato who attracted attention in the traditional Indy 500
Round 6 of the series is a traditional race which is the 106th Indianapolis 500 miles. During the four days of practice, Sato marked the top time on all three days, except for the second day when the car was unable to run due to rain. Sato, who has two victories in the past at the Indy 500, has attracted a lot of attention for his good performance, and expectations were placed on his first pole position.
Qualifying was held over two days, with the top 12 cars advancing to the second day's qualifying, and the top six cars on the second day competing for pole position as the "Fast 6". Although Sato struggled a little on the first day, he barely advanced to the second day in 12th place.
On the second day, Sato was unable to remain in Fast 6 and finished 10th. Four Chip Ganassi Racing cars advanced to the Fast 6, with Scott Dixon taking his 5th pole position for the second year in a row, and Palou taking 2nd place, occupied the front row.
Ericsson wins in the battle of last two laps
In the early stages of the race, Dixon and Palou on the front row exchanged positions and ran fast in the lead. However, when Palou was about to enter the pits, a yellow caution was issued, and he fell back. Dixon marked a lead lap of 95 laps and led the race until the end of the race, but he received a speeding penalty on the pit road and dropped out of the winning front. Chevrolet cars dominated the top position, but Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), who had been maintaining the position from the 5th start, improved his pace and took the lead at once. While trying to extend the lead to more than 3 seconds and run away, an accident caused a red flag, and the race was interrupted. The lead was reset, and the race restarted with two laps remaining, but Ericsson overcame his rival's hot pursuit and won his first Indy 500. It was Honda's third consecutive win.
Victory at the Indy 500 made Ericsson the points leader. He lost his position for short period of time in Round 7 at Detroit, but he finished second in Round 8 at Road America. He became the points leader again. He held on until Round 12, but he failed to score any significant points towards the end and finished 6th in the series rankings.
Dixon aiming for the record of the seventh title
In the final stages of the season, chasing the top-ranking Chevrolets was Dixon, who won Round 10 in Toronto and Round 14 in Nashville. He was 20 points behind the leader Will Power (Chevrolet) and went to the final round of Monterrey for a record seventh title but finished this race in 12th place and ranked 3rd. In the final round, Palou took his first victory of the season and finished 5th in the ranking. Power won the driver's title, while Honda, who ended the year with six wins, missed out on the engine manufacturer's title as well.
Heated Rookie of the Year battle
In the Rookie of the Year race, Honda drivers Christian Lunger (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and David Marcus (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) battled until the final round, with Lunger taking the crown after finishing 5th in the final round. Lunger finished on the podium in Round 13 at Indianapolis (Road Course) and Marcus in Round 15 at St. Louis.
Sato was 3rd of Round 2 in qualifying and 2nd in Round 7, showing his speed in many occasions, but in the race, 5th in Round 15 was his best result of the season. He finished the season with 19th in ranking.
|1||Will POWER||12||Team Penske||Chevrolet||560|
|2||Josef NEWGARDEN||2||Team Penske||Chevrolet||544|
|3||Scott DIXON||9||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||521|
|4||Scott MCLAUGHLIN||3||Team Penske||Chevrolet||510|
|5||Alex PALOU||10||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||510|
|6||Marcus ERICSSON||8||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||506|
|9||Alexander ROSSI||27||Andretti Autosport||Honda||381|
|10||Colton HERTA||26||Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian||Honda||381|
|11||Graham RAHAL||15||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||345|
|13||Romain GROSJEAN||28||Andretti Autosport||Honda||328|
|14||Christian LUNDGAARD||30||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||323|
|15||Simon PAGENAUD||60||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||314|
|16||David MALUKAS||18||Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports||Honda||305|
|18||Hélio CASTRONEVES||06||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||263|
|19||Takuma SATO||51||Dale Coyne Racing with RWR||Honda||258|
|21||Jimmie JOHNSON||48||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||214|
|22||Jack HARVEY||45||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||209|
|23||Devlin DEFRANCESCO||29||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||Honda||206|
|26||Tony KANAAN||1||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||78|
|33||Marco ANDRETTI||98||Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian||Honda||17|