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Johansson: IndyCar the only series that makes sense for young drivers

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Veteran Swedish racer Stefan Johansson believes that the Verizon IndyCar Series is currently the only premier championship that makes sense for young drivers to work towards.

Johansson raced in Formula 1 between 1983 and 1991 before turning his attention to IndyCar, where he raced for the Bettenhausen team for five seasons until 1996, scoring four podium finishes.

Johansson was in Abu Dhabi for the final F1 race of the year, and stayed on at Yas Marina to watch the GP2 test at the beginning of December.

In an interview on his website, Johansson explained how he had spoken to a number of managers that were looking at alternatives to F1 for their young drivers due to the high costs and competition involved.

“It’s a big dilemma. I talked to several driver managers and F1 managers while in Abu Dhabi and it seems the general consensus is that most of them have in fact given up on the idea of pushing their drivers all the way to F1,” Johansson said.

“The path to get there is too expensive and it’s getting more and more difficult to find sponsorship for both the teams and the drivers.

“Instead people are starting to focus on DTM and sports cars as alternative routes for a career as a professional driver. It’s a sad situation when even the people in F1 admit that the best drivers don’t have a chance to ever drive an F1 car, or at least not race one.”

Johansson believes that IndyCar is the only single-seater series that is viable for young drivers to realistically aim for, and was full of praise for the racing.

“The only open wheel series that makes any sense in my opinion right now is IndyCar,” Johansson said.

“There is a good ladder system in place in America where the winner in the Indy Lights Championship will get a good portion of the budget towards an Indycar program plus a guaranteed drive in the Indy 500 as the reward for winning the series.

“The racing is outstanding in IndyCar. Every race goes down to the wire and you can never count out anyone until after the last pitstop. Six drivers had a chance to win the championship going into the last round this year, I don’t know any other series that comes even close to that.

“But as I’ve said so many times, unfortunately the IndyCar people don’t seem know what a great product they have and they certainly don’t know how to market it.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”