British driver Katherine Legge has lashed out against Dragon Racing and its co-owner Jay Penske, and said she will take legal action against the team over their decision to replace her in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship with Sebastian Saavedra.
"I am extremely disappointed that Dragon Racing and sponsor TrueCar have announced a replacement IndyCar driver for the #6 car," Legge said in a statement on Wednesday.
"This has come as a huge shock," she admitted. "I firmly believe that Dragon Racing and TrueCar cannot proceed without me and I will be taking legal action to protect my rights."
Legge revealed that she had signed a two-year contract with sponsors TrueCar that covered 2012 and 2013, which she then subsequently brought to the Dragon Racing team to fund her two full seasons. She said that she had been given no cause for her firing by either TrueCar or team co-owner Jay Penske.
"I received a letter from Dragon Racing, terminating my services on January the 18th," she said. "My legal team had asked for details regarding the reasoning for this termination but none have been provided.
"I was very much looking forward to 2013, using the experience I gained last year as a spring board for greater success," she added. "It was a very difficult season last year, we did very little testing and I was made to sit out of some of the races."
That was a reference to the difficulties the team experienced after an acrimonious split in May 2012 with original engine suppliers Lotus, which left Dragon with a single-engine-only deal with Chevrolet that had to be shared between her and the team's other driver, Sebastien Bourdais.
Legge had been confident of a second year in IndyCar, clearly believing that even if Dragon went for a different driver she would be able to take the TrueCar 'Women Empowered Initiative' sponsorship with her to another team. Instead, the team's announcement on Tuesday made it clear that TrueCar would be staying on as sponsors of Legg's replacement at Dragon, Colombia's Sebastian Saavedra.
Legge fumed that she had no idea where TrueCar and its CEO now stood on the initiative that had been specifically designed to give a financial boost to women drivers in competitive motorsports.