As expected, the Lotus motorsports group has announced that it is parting ways with two of the IZOD IndyCar Series teams to which it has been supplying engines so far in the 2012 season.
“Lotus in IndyCar is like David versus Goliath - we are and always will be a niche British sports car company built for the few not the many," said the Director of Motorsport Group Lotus, Claudio Berro. "I can assure everybody that the actions were taken after careful consideration and will assist in ensuring the brand's high racing ambitions and the high expectations of the IndyCar community are realised.”
Bryan Herta Autosport (with driver Alex Tagliani) and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (with Oriol Servia in the cockpit) will no longer be using Lotus engines after this weekend's Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Brazil, Lotus confirmed.
"Our focus is on the Brazil race and we are still a part of the Lotus team. We are excited to go down there. We wish Lotus all of the best going forward," said Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold. "We are in the midst of finalizing our future plans and we are talking to the series to conclude that process. We will be making a public statement in the very near future."
BHA had already announced that it was not making the flyaway trip in any case, and can now use the extra time to get a new engine deal in place with one of the other series providers, Honda or Chevrolet. Neither team has yet confirmed a replacement engine supplier to take over from Lotus.
"We need an engine," BHA co-owner Bryan Herta admitted. "Obviously, if we get one, it's going to be either a Chevrolet or a Honda, but we don't have anything yet. It was a little bit of a leap of faith, but that's why it's really good it was done amicably between teams and IndyCar and Lotus."
IndyCar Series organisers led by CEO Randy Bernard say that they will help both teams get through the transition as much as possible.
"IndyCar is committed to ensuring that our teams and manufacturers have a platform to remain competitive,” Bernard said. “We support Lotus' decision and will assist Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport in securing engine support for the remainder of the season.”
Following the decision, Lotus will now be able to focus on delivering engines for its remaining two full-time teams consisting of three drivers in total - HVM Racing (Simona de Silvestro) and Dragon Racing (Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge) - as well as a one-off appearance for Newman/Haas Racing in next month's Indy 500 which is expected to field a car for the Lotus brand ambassador and former F1 driver Jean Alesi.