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Kanaan falls out of De Ferran Dragon drive

Tony Kanaan has lost his potential new race seat at De Ferran Dragon Racing after failing to find sufficient sponsorship money to bring to the team, which itself may now close.
Tony Kanaan's IndyCar racing career is once again in limbo, after he revealed that the deal putting him in a De Ferran Dragon Racing seat in 2011 had fallen apart - which means the team itself is unlikely to compete in 2011 and may be shuttered entirely.

"I came up with some money, but not enough for [de Ferran's team]," he said on Tuesday night from Brazil. "It's hard to take, especially a month before the championship starts,” he continued, "but I'm going to keep fighting and go find something to drive.

"The bottom line now is, who will give me a deal and for how many races?"

Kanaan said that he had enough funding to run a limited campaign of "a handful of races". KV Racing Technology, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Conquest Racing and Dale Coyne Racing still have race seats unconfirmed, while the FAZZT Race Team has also been hoping to run a second car alongside that of team owner Alex Tagliani.

Kanaan did announce a sponsorship program with Brazilian beer company Itaipava, which also sponsors his compatriot Helio Castroneves, but it was too little, too late as far as the De Ferran Dragon opening went. Tuesday was the second and final deadline for Kanaan to confirm his sponsorship backing to team boss Gil de Ferran, after a first deadline of February 15 was extended by a week to give Kanaan more time to cast around.

The collapse of the deal between Kanaan and De Ferran Dragon racing also has potentially far-reaching consequences for the team itself, which has been struggling to find sponsors with deep enough pockets to fund it. If even a driver of Kanaan's stature and popularity can't put together a big enough seven-figure sponsorship deal, then it's doubtful whether anyone can before the season starts on March 27.

"This is a very difficult announcement for us to make," said team boss Gil de Ferran. "When Tony and I put the deal together we both knew that it had to make financial sense and we set ourselves certain targets. We believed that together we were a strong proposition both on and off the track and really felt we could have become a major force in the championship in 2011 and beyond. Despite our collective best efforts we have not been able to secure the sponsorship funds to go any further.

"Regarding the future of our team, at this point we are unclear of our plans; nevertheless it is unlikely that we will participate in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series."

The news of Kanaan and de Ferrran's sponsorship problems ironically came on the same day that Andretti Autosport - the team that let Kanaan go last December while keeping Ryan Hunter-Reay on the books instead - announced that logistics company DHL had signed up as a co-primary sponsor on Hunter-Reay's car and would also provide additional sponsorship support to his new team mate Mike Conway.

Hunter-Reay was in much the same position this time last year as Kanaan now finds himself, having only had enough funds for a limited number of races from his sponsor IZOD. After taking the funds to Andretti Autosports, he then had a strong start to the season with a win at Long Beach that provided enough leverage to secure the funds for the rest of the year, and which has now resulted in the long-term security of a multi-year deal with DHL.



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Indy Racing League.  July 31-Aug. !, 2009. Kentucky Speedway. Sparta, Ky. USA. Tony Kanaan resting in car before practice.
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with his wife Liz Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves and Tim Cindric come together after a valiant effort in the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan with his MAV TV 500 trophy (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and crew celebrate winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday August 30 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan celebrates winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday August 30 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and wife Lauren celebrate winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday August 30 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and wife Lauren with the Winners Trophy after winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Confetti falls on the podium trio Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan celebrates winning the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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JOHN - Unregistered

February 24, 2011 2:51 AM

What a sad and tragic tale and story. Its like F1. Only those with deep pockets (ie sponsorship) get the drive and car. There is no character in IndyCar anymore. I wish Tony the very best- that he gets a car that wins races and that he shows the world he is the man. It goes without saying motor racing is an astromonically expensive 'sport'. I'll be keeping an eye on Tony.



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