Andretti Autosport has confirmed that it is parting company with Chevrolet at the end of this season, and from 2014 will be powered by Honda engines in the IndyCar Series.
“We look forward to working with Honda again; for us, it's like being back home. I have no doubt that together we will see great success,” said team owner Michael Andretti, making the announcement on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California ahead of this weekend's 2013 season finale.
"We're extremely happy to welcome Michael Andretti and his Andretti Autosport organization back into the Honda Racing family," said Honda Performance Development president Art St Cyr in reply. "The Andretti organization played a major role in Honda's success during the previous era of manufacturer competition in Indy car racing, and we're looking forward to adding more victories and championships to an already impressive total."
In a sense, Saturday's announcement was "the other shoe dropping" in the wake of Ganassi Racing's announcement at the start of the month that they were departing the Honda stable and moving to Chevrolet in a bid to get on an equal footing with their arch rivals Penske next season, after problems with the power and reliability of the Honda engines in the last two season.
After the Ganassi decision was made public, Honda said that it was in no rush to replace that team as their flagship partners in IndyCar, but it was clear that the distribution of engine supply in the series between Chevrolet and Honda was out of balance and some sort of knock-on effect such as Andretti's exit from the 'bow tie brigade' had been expected.
“We'd like to thank Michael Andretti and the entire Andretti Autosport organisation for their partnership in IndyCar Series competition during 2012 and 2013,” said Jim Campbell, US vice president at Chevrolet for performance vehicles and motorsports.
"We would like to thank the Andretti Autosport drivers for their on-track achievements that contributed to Chevrolet clinching the 2012 manufacturers' championship [and] resulted in Ryan Hunter-Reay winning the 2012 IndyCar Series driver championship," Campbell added. "They are all true professionals on and off the track. We wish them well and look forward to spirited competition in the future."
The team also confirmed that James Hinchcliffe would be staying at Andretti for 2014 despite the loss of internet services company GoDaddy.com as primary sponsor of the #27 car. Stepping into the breach for 2014 will be broadband wholesaler United Fiber and Data.
"Obviously, this has been home for the last two years and we preach so much about chemistry in this team and to keep it together is awesome," said Hinchcliffe, who has signed a one-year deal plus option with the team to stay alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay and also Marco Andretti, who signed his own two-year extension with the team on Friday.