Saavedra confirmed for second KV/AFS Racing IndyCar entry


Sebastian Saavedra has been confirmed for KV Racing’s second IndyCar for the 2014 season. The Colombian will drive the No. 17 AFS-backed KV AFS Racing Chevrolet, and for a second straight year, be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais.

KV Racing, run by Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser, have joined forces with Gary Peterson’s AFS group to make the entry. Vasser said the engineering lineup are confirmed and will be released at a later time.

“I’m very excited to be honest,” Saavedra said. “It’s very important to have some sort of relationship with teammates last year. We get to work together, find out what we like, and joining forces again with a great team with a history, and the mentality of securing the Indy 500 last year is even more motivation. Having the tools, the energy, will help.”

Bourdais and Saavedra were teammates at Dragon Racing in 2013, but Dragon will not return to IndyCar on a full-time basis in 2014. The only confirmed program for Jay Penske’s organization in 2014 is the team’s FIA Formula E Championship effort.

Saavedra and Peterson have worked together on two prior occasions. When the Colombian first entered Indy Lights in 2009, he was in an AFS/Andretti Green Racing entry. Additionally, when he stepped back down to Indy Lights in 2012, it was with Peterson’s support in a then-AFS/Andretti Autosport car. He made three IndyCar starts in 2012, both 500-mile races at Indianapolis and Fontana and the road race at Sonoma.

Colombia now has its third confirmed driver on the 2014 IndyCar grid, as Saavedra joins his old Indy Lights teammate Carlos Munoz and Juan Pablo Montoya in the field.

Vasser added during the conference call held Wednesday that the team has “real good” chances of running a third car for the Indianapolis 500, for a veteran male or female driver.

Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.