Bryan Herta and Marco Andretti will be working even closer in 2019. Photo: Andretti Autosport

Marco Andretti to have ‘enhanced role’ with No. 98 team in 2019

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In a sense, IndyCar driver Marco Andretti will be wearing a management hat under his racing helmet during the upcoming 2019 IndyCar Series season.

Andretti Autosport announced Thursday that the grandson of legendary Mario Andretti and son of team primary owner Michael Andretti will take “an enhanced role in the No. 98 team’s entry” in 2019.

As a result, the team is changing its name to Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian.

“I’m happy and proud to invest back into the team that I have been with for 13 seasons and counting,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “I truly believe this is the best team out there and I’m looking forward to a fun, competitive future with the U.S. Concrete No. 98 family.”

The third-generation Andretti family racer’s enhanced role will not be as a part-owner, but rather as a “partner,” according to a team spokesperson, meaning that in addition to racing, he’ll likely also be more involved in the business and management side of the No. 98 team.

“I’m proud to see Marco looking beyond the racing seat and taking a vested interest in not just his car entry, but the future of motorsport that can one day take him beyond his driving career,” Michael Andretti said. “Marco has many driving years ahead of him and many victories yet to come but is continuing to see the big picture of racing and that will in turn make him a stronger competitor all around.”

Andretti finished ninth in the 2018 IndyCar Series standings, his best season finish since back-to-back ninth-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. His best finishes in 2018 were fourth  at Belle Isle I (where he also earned his first pole since 2013) and fifth in the season-ending race at Sonoma.

Andretti Autosport will return for 2019 with its driving lineup intact from 2018, with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Zach Veach, in addition to Marco in the satellite Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian entry.

The 2019 IndyCar Series opens March 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Simona de Silvestro to become Venturi Formula E test driver

Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
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Simona de Silvestro will become a test driver for the Venturi Formula E team for 2018/2019 season.In addition

De Silvestro previously raced limited events in the series during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons.

I’m delighted to make my return to Formula E as a test driver for Venturi Formula E Team and I’m grateful to Susie (Wolff, team principal) and Gildo (Pastor, team president) for the opportunity,” de Silvestro said on SpeedCafe.com.

“Since competing in Season 2, I’ve kept a close eye on the Formula E championship and followed its development with interest,” de Silvestro continued. “The arrival of the new Gen2 car represents a huge milestone for the series and I am very happy to be back in an active role at this exciting and important time.”

De Silvestro has raced in Australian Supercars since 2017. She will continue to race in that series with Kelly Racing as she balances her time with Venturi.

The bulk of de Silvestro’s testing will be done in its simulator in Monaco.

“The next 12 months will be really busy for me with both Formula E and my Australian Supercars commitments but I’m ready for the challenge and it’s a joy to be working with such a well connected and committed team as Venturi,” de Silvestro said.

“Simona is a real team player and a driver I was keen to work with,” said team principal Wolff. “She has a very positive attitude and no-nonsense approach to her work which will fit in well with the team.”