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Team Aguri in takeover talks, Ma Qinghua to make Formula E debut

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PARIS – Team Aguri has confirmed that it is in takeover talks ahead of this weekend’s Formula E race in Paris, France, where Chinese racer Ma Qinghua will make his debut in the series.

Team Aguri enjoyed a close association with insurance company Amlin in season one before parting company, the latter switching to sponsor Andretti.

Aguri has endured a turbulent season thus far, having retained the season one powertrain and gone through three different drivers in the first six races.

However, in a statement issued on Wednesday, it was confirmed that the team is in talks with an investment company regarding a possible takeover.

“Team Aguri has confirmed that the outfit is subject to a bid from an investment company and has subsequently entered a period of consultation about its future ownership,” a short statement from the team read.

It was also confirmed that team founder Aguri Suzuki is set to leave the team at the end of the season, with Team Aguri switching to a UK racing license for its Formula E entry.

“Aguri Suzuki played a fundamental role in the formation of the team and we would like to thank him for his continued support,” a team spokesperson said.

“We are now entering a new phase for the team and are in advanced discussions with new investors, but will not be able to comment further at this time. We will make subsequent announcements in due course.”

The team also confirmed that Ma Qinghua will make his debut in Formula E this weekend in Paris, replacing Salvador Duran for the remainder of the second season.

Qinghua worked with HRT and Caterham in Formula 1 before moving into the World Touring Car Championship in 2014, where he became the first Chinese driver to win an FIA world championship race.

“Joining Team Aguri is a great opportunity for me and I am very excited to be racing in Formula E, as the series has attracted some of the best drivers from around the world,” Qinghua said.

“I’m looking forward to racing in a single seater series again and to managing the unique demands of a Formula E car, which is renowned for its handling and energy management demands.”

The Paris ePrix takes place on Saturday April 23.

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.”