Patrick Carpentier has signed to drive for the Red Bull Cheever Racing IRL IndyCar Series team in 2005, according to his now former boss Gerry Forsythe.

While the Cheever team have yet to release an official statement, discussions between the two had been ongoing for some time if stateside rumours are to be believed and a disappointed Forsythe was the first to reveal the Canadian's decision.

"Patrick Carpentier called me last night from Indianapolis to advise me that he had signed a contract with Cheever Racing to drive in the Indy Racing League in 2005" said Forsythe in a Forsythe team release.

"Patrick has been with the team since 1998 and I've enjoyed seeing him develop as a driver over the years to become one of the leading and most competitive drivers in Champ Car, North America's premier open wheel racing series," he continued. "He has had successes on every type of race track that this most diverse and demanding Series races on; oval, road and street courses, and Patrick has proved himself to be a genuine championship contender in recent years. He will be especially missed at our highly attended and great events in Canada where he is a popular local hero."

While Carpentier's position with the Forsythe team was by no means certain for 2005, it is believed that he still had a chance of retaining his drive for an eighth season after finishing third in this year's Champ Car standings.

"I think it's a shame that Pat has decided to make a move now, and frankly I don't think this is a good career choice for him personally, but this is his decision," continued Forsythe. "We like and respect Patrick and his family very much indeed, and all of us at the team wish Patrick, Anick and Anais the very best of luck in the future."

Vice President of Operations for Forsythe, Neil Micklewright added, "It's a pity Patrick felt he had to make such an early decision, we didn't want him to leave. He's come a long way during his tenure with the team and we will miss him. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to him returning to Champ Car in the near future."

Paul Tracy reiterated the comments he made in Mexico City about his team mate and fellow Canadian, "I've enjoyed having Pat as a team mate; we've worked well together I think, always openly sharing information and battling hard but cleanly at every race. I wish him the best."