Photo: MS&AD Andretti FE

Kamui Kobayashi set for Formula E debut with MS&AD Andretti

Leave a comment

The rebranded MS&AD Andretti Formula E team will run Toyota LMP1 factory ace, Super Formula driver and ex-Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi in its No. 27 car for the 2017-2018 FIA Formula E Championship season opener at Hong Kong in a few weeks.

Japanese driver Kobayashi will make his series debut alongside Antonio Felix da Costa, retained by the team for another season, and in place of Tom Blomqvist, who was announced by the FIA in the team’s second seat when the full entry list was released but not by the team itself. A good read explaining the background and predicament of how the seat has weaved to Kobayashi, at least for Hong Kong, is here via e-racing365.com.

“First of all, I would like to thank to Michael, the whole Andretti Formula E team and MS&AD insurance for giving me this wonderful opportunity to race at the Hong Kong EPRIX,” Kobayashi said. “Andretti is one of the world most popular racing families and I am so excited to have my Formula E debut race under his name. I will be going to the race weekend without testing which is not an easy thing to be honest, but the team has been giving me all the support so no worrying at all and I am really looking forward to having good races there.”

Adrian Britten, Director of Brand & Communications for MS Amlin, the London-based international arm of Japanese global insurer MS&AD, added: “We are delighted that Kamui Kobayashi has joined the MS&AD Andretti team and are looking forward to real excitement on the track. The welcome return of a Japanese driver to the Formula E grid will hopefully encourage a future Formula E race in Japan.”

Blomqvist wasn’t mentioned in the release and it’ll be interesting to see if the MS&AD Andretti squad, which made a number of driver changes in season one but has since retained consistency in its lineup – first with Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro in season two, then Frijns and da Costa in season three – will opt to switch things up after Hong Kong.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Leave a comment

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.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“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.”