Report: Franchitti wants role with Ganassi next season

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After retiring last month due to injuries sustained in an October accident at the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, four-time IndyCar champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti has expressed his wishes to return to the paddock in some role with Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Chip and I have talked about something next year, I’d love to work with the team in IndyCar – I just won’t be behind the wheel anymore,” Franchitti said during last night’s Autosport Awards in London, which marked his first public appearance since the last-lap crash at Reliant Park.

The Scotsman – who sustained spinal injuries, a fractured ankle, and a concussion in the Houston crash – also touched upon how tough it’s been to truly come to terms with the fact that his career is over, noting that he still thinks about driving a car and that “the passion is still there to do something.”

Nonetheless, he also mentioned how proud he was of the career he had.

“I’ve had a wonderful time, a great career – I wouldn’t call it a career, it was what I loved to do,” he said. “I never called it a job. It’s been an absolute privilege.”

“In a lot of ways, I’m lucky to be here to take that decision. It’s a kick in the b—s, but I’ll move on to the next stage.”

A well-stated sentiment, altogether. While we’ll miss seeing Franchitti in the cockpit next year, it’s good to hear that he’s not planning on staying away from the track and that he wants to help the team that helped him enjoy so much success in his driving tenure.

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.