Report: Kanaan linked to Ganassi switch, but status unofficial (UPDATED)

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According to the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer, reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan will move to Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar team in 2014. Sources spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

No indication was given as to whether this would be a Target-backed car or fall under the auspices of the “G2” program operated out of Brownsburg, the shop where Charlie Kimball resides. As it is, Kanaan would be the fourth driver alongside Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Kimball.

Kanaan would serve as the first major domino to fall in the driver front for the 2014 IndyCar Series silly season. We surmised recently that Kanaan was one of the two likeliest options to move to Ganassi, along with Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe, with the likelihood that Ganassi would bring its fourth car out of a one-year hiatus.

This would not come as a major surprise given Kanaan raced for Ganassi’s GRAND-AM Rolex Series team in Indianapolis and has said he would need to package the sponsorship to stay at KV. He has achieved two major career milestones with Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven’s team, with the Indianapolis 500 victory and his record-setting 212th straight start at Baltimore last race.

Hinchcliffe would now be all but a cinch to stay with Andretti in a fifth car, with a consortium of sponsors likely because GoDaddy is mulling whether it wants to stay on as a primary sponsor.

For KV, the situation could be less clear. This would leave just Simona de Silvestro and a second seat likely to go to the highest bidder, if at all. Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 6:15 p.m. ET: The AP report was refuted by a further report by the Indianapolis Star‘s Curt Cavin posted later this afternoon, with quotes from both Kanaan and Vasser.

Kanaan said he doesn’t have a deal either way, and Vasser has said two offers have been made to him – the latter and updated one noting he would not need to bring any funding on his own. Vasser also cited a desire to “keep the band together,” referring to a cast and crew Kanaan has worked with the majority of his career, including engineer Eric Cowdin.

I’d tend to agree with this tweet Cavin offered later, in that if Ganassi wants Kanaan, he’ll get him.

As ever though, nothing is official until the team entity – whichever team – announces it.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was being investigated for a potential safety car infringement. It could mean a time penalty of five seconds, in which case the Mexican driver’s lead over Leclerc covered him.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.