Valsecchi: I have not yet been paid by Lotus

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One wonders if Lotus test driver Davide Valsecchi may have triggered even more fears among Formula One observers about the team’s financial state after telling an Italian website that he has not been paid for his services from the 2013 season.

For his part, Valsecchi, who was passed over by Lotus as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement for the final two races in favor of Heikki Kovalainen, has faith that the Enstone team will eventually pay.

“According to my contract, my salary was like that of a waiter. They haven’t paid me yet,” he said to F1Passion.it, noting that the team has “always behaved well towards [him].”

“I’m sure that as soon as they’ll be in a position to do so, they’ll solve their debt.”

Nonetheless, Valsecchi’s comments could be considered as coming at an inopportune time. With the Quantum saga still fresh on observers’ minds, everyone is keeping an eye on the competitive but underfunded team as the new season approaches.

As for what the future holds for Valsecchi personally, he told the Italian site that he currently doesn’t have any commitments lined up for 2014. He also noted that he’d be open to coming to the United States and racing in the IndyCar Series.

“For sure, if someone were to call me to race without asking me for money, I’d be ready to do it right away, but I’m not too worried about the situation,” he told F1 Passion. “And I won’t stop exerting myself to have a steering wheel in hand soon.

“In the meantime, I don’t conceal my desire to get into IndyCar. There is someone who gave me a hand, although in the U.S., I’m not as famous as here in Europe, where my achievements in GP2 are well known.”

After splitting his 2011 season between GP2 and a test role with Team Lotus (now known as Caterham), Valsecchi earned the 2012 GP2 championship prior to landing at Lotus as third driver for 2013.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”