Report: GoDaddy not likely to stay as primary sponsor at Andretti (UPDATED)

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Citing low television ratings, GoDaddy – which serves as the primary backer of James Hinchcliffe’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet in the IZOD IndyCar Series – appears unlikely to return to the series in the same role next year according to a report from Autoweek.

Per Autoweek, Andretti Autosport senior vice president and chief marketing officer John Lopes said on Indianapolis’ WFNI-AM (1070 The Fan) that while he was still optimistic that GoDaddy would retain some sort of role with the team, he noted that the company prefers to “measure their return on investment based on TV.”

Hinchcliffe is one of the bigger prizes in this year’s IndyCar Silly Season, as he has claimed three victories this season – which is also the final year of his current pact with Andretti Autosport.

The team is trying to keep him on board and perhaps away from a potential fourth program at Chip Ganassi Racing – a program that could also be in play for Indianapolis 500 champion and current KV Racing driver Tony Kanaan, who’s been candid this summer about his ongoing struggle to find more funding.

But Hinchcliffe would appear in position to be the first big domino to fall in Silly Season. Once he’s settled, Kanaan and the other free agents in the paddock will likely begin their own moves to tweak the 2014 grid.

Lopes told 1070 The Fan that he was “cautiously optimistic” about retaining Hinchcliffe, noting that several companies are interested in backing him next year – although none have committed as of now.

“[Hinchcliffe’s] deal’s not done, but we’re certainly not giving up the ghost on it,” Lopes said.

But with GoDaddy’s apparent departure as a primary sponsor at Andretti Autosport, it would seem that Hinchcliffe has another matter to ponder as he goes about deciding his future.

UPDATE (11:46 a.m. ET): The Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer has tweeted the following response from GoDaddy:

Formula 1: Ricciardo nurses power unit trouble to win in Monaco

Photo: Getty Images
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Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo had dominated the Monaco Grand Prix weekend heading into Sunday, topping every practice session and laying down a lap-record 1:10.810 to secure the pole.

The race itself was also going according to plan for Ricciardo, as he got the jump off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the start to lead into Sainte Devote.

However, on Lap 28, after the leaders all made their lone pit stops of the race, Ricciardo’s day nearly came unglued when he reported a loss of power on his RB14.

With the Red Bull team monitoring the issue, Vettel was able to close back in on Ricciardo and began stalking him for the lead.

However, Ricciardo brilliantly utilized a combination of late-braking and sustained cornering speed to keep Vettel at bay and secure his first victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The victory, Ricciardo’s second of the 2018 Formula 1 season, serves as sweet redemption after a pit stop error cost him a possible victory in 2016, when he settled for second behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel, meanwhile, saw his challenge hampered after a Lap 72 Virtual Safety Car for a crash between Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley – Leclerc suffered brake failure on the run up to the Nouvelle Chicane, and collected Hartley in the process.

When the VSC ended, Vettel could not get his Pirellis back up to temperature, and Ricciardo pulled away in the final laps.

While Vettel ended up second, Hamilton rounded out the podium in third, despite struggling with a graining issue on his Pirelli ultrasofts in the second half of the race. Hamilton held off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who also fended off Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas for fourth – the trio finished up third (Hamilton), fourth (Raikkonen), and fifth (Bottas).

Esteban Ocon was sixth for Force India, with Pierre Gasly coming home a strong seventh for Toro Rosso. Nico Hulkenberg ended up eighth for Renault, while Max Verstappen came home ninth after starting last – Verstappen ran long on his first stint before switching to hypersofts on Lap 48. He ran the hypers all the way to the end to finish ninth.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was the final points finisher, coming home tenth for Renault.

Results are below.

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