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.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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