Driver news in brief: Fisher steps down
3 December 2010
Sarah Fisher steps aside for Ed Carpenter
Sarah Fisher has decided to step down as driver for her Sarah Fisher Racing team, and handed over the driving duties to Ed Carpenter.
Fisher explained it was because she was finding it increasingly difficult to separate her dual roles as owner and driver, and would often be more preoccupied with the state of the cars and the team than performing on track.
"Being both an owner and a driver is both time consuming on both sides," said Fisher, who recently turned 30. "I really want to see this team move forward and to have one driver who does all the races – ovals and road courses. It's just very hard to do both."
Carpenter, 29, was was only able to run in four races in 2010 in a joint venture between Vision Racing and Panther Racing, and was exploring options with Panther for 2011 when he called Fisher to discuss her team's plans. "In a lot of ways, I feel like we had a deal done after that first phone call. I was blessed that I called at the right time."
Carpenter will compete in the all domestic oval events except Milwaukee, and the road/street events at St. Petersburg (the March 27 season opener), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Streets of Baltimore. Fisher says she is hopeful of securing additional sponsorship to allow Carpenter to compete for the whole season.
Hinchcliffe and Servia test for NHR
James Hinchcliffe and Oriol Servia will test with Newman/Haas Racing on December 13-14 at Sebring International Raceway.
Canadian Hinchcliffe, 23, was the runner-up in Firestone IndyLights championship and will be testing an IndyCar for the first time. "I can't express how excited I am to get my first test in an IndyCar," he said. "I grew up watching Indy cars and always dreamed of one day driving one so this really is a dream come true. And to get my first taste of this car with a team the caliber of Newman/Haas Racing is really special.
Servia - from Catalonia, Spain - has had 15 race starts in CART/ChampCar/IndyCar and ended up second in the 2005 ChampCar after replacing Newman/Haas driver Bruno Junqueira after a major crash at that year's Indy 500. "I am obviously very excited, not only to be back in a race car but to be back in a Newman/Haas car," Servia said. "Every time I have driven a Newman/Haas car we have been able to make improvements and deliver results."
Tony Kanaan reviewing options
During November, Tony Kanaan tested at Sebring in a de Ferran Dragon Racing car, although no further news of any potential deal has been announced. Kanaan is also rumoured to be looking at a move to NASCAR Trucks after discussing a drive with Kyle Busch's team in that series.
Kanaan was let go by Andretti Autosports after his major sponsor, 7-Eleven, ended its association with the team at the end of October.
FAZZT may run second car for Tung
Renault F1 reserve driver Ho-Pin Tung may become the first Chinese driver in IndyCar, after the FAZZT Race Team ran a test with him at Sebring International Raceway during November.
Regular driver Alex Tagliani, team COO and general manager Rob Edwards and chief engineer Allen McDonald were said to be impressed with the technical adaptation and feedback from Tung, and there was good rapport between team and driver: "Ho-Pin is a likeable guy and fast", said Tagliani. "I think he would add a lot to the IndyCar Series and our team."
"Our goal is to run a minimum of two cars for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar season and this test was a first step in that direction," said the team's general manager Rob Edwards. "Ho-Pin Tung's talent and presence in an IndyCar can reach a whole new nation of fans in China and presents significant opportunities for our sport and our partners."
Tung represented China in the now-defunct A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, competed in Formula Ford, was 2003 Formula BMW Asia champion, 2006 German Formula 3 champion and raced in GP2, GP2 Asia and the Superleague Formula.
Wilson re-signs for Dreyer & Reinbold
Britain's Justin Wilson will build on 2010 momentum by staying with Dreyer & Reinbold for the 2011 season.
"We created a lot of momentum in 2010 with Justin and we plan on continuing that next year with him as one of our full-time drivers," said co-owner Dennis Reinbold. "Justin's a class act and we couldn't be happier to have him back as part of our DRR family in 2011."
It's the first time in Wilson's IndyCar career that he's been able to continue with a team for consecutive seasons. Wilson finished 11th in 2011 and was runner-up in the races at St Petersburg and Long Beach,and started on pole in Toronto. He scored a series victory in his debut season in 2008 when he won at the Raceway at Belle Isle for Newman/Haas Racing.