Viso out, Munoz set to replace for Fontana IndyCar finale

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Andretti Autosport – which has several other announcements looming in the next couple days regarding its 2014 IndyCar program – has announced E.J. Viso will not be in action in this weekend’s season finale, the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

The team said Viso was “ill” and its Firestone Indy Lights driver, Carlos Munoz, will be the replacement. Team officials confirmed the news just prior to first practice. Prior to that, Munoz has been listed in Viso’s car on IndyCar’s qualifying order sheet. Munoz finished second for the team at the Indianapolis 500 and also raced as a last-minute injury fill-in for Ryan Briscoe at Panther Racing in Toronto Race 2.

Viso has not made the trip to Fontana and had a partner appearance for Neiman Marcus earlier this week canceled, per the team.

This morning in the paddock, Viso’s car still had his name listed above the driver roll hoop as Munoz was preparing to go out for Indy Lights practice.

There is likely more to the story with reports surfacing in the Venezuelan media (the Ultimas Noticias and El Nacional newspapers) that funding and payments have been delayed for the effort.

More will follow on this story throughout the day as we learn more information.

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.