Developments in the IndyCar Series continue to come at a frenetic pace with the season set to end this weekend.
Juan Pablo Montoya's move to Team Penske, Tony Kanaan's move to Ganassi Racing, Sebastien Bourdais' move to KVSH Racing, James Hinchcliffe's free agency, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing signing National Guard as its primary sponsor for Graham Rahal and Ganassi Racing's unexpected departure from Honda have given IndyCar fans plenty to chew on during the past month, and more is on the way as RACER has learned Andretti Autosport is planning to announce its return to Honda next season during a press conference at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway on Friday.
It's also believed that Hinchcliffe, who had been talking with KV Racing, has elected to stay with Andretti and is close to having a new multi-year contract in place with the team. Provided the agreement is completed in time, the three-time race winner could also be announced at Fontana.
“The team will have very exciting announcements about drivers and sponsors in the very near future,” said Andretti Autosport director of corporate communications Ryann Rigsby when reached by RACER on Thursday.
Andretti Autosport had been in discussion with Chevrolet, but as has been rumored since the Ganassi switch was revealed at Houston, the need for Honda to sign a replacement anchor team and for Andretti to position itself as the top program for a manufacturer has met its expected outcome.
Assistance from Honda Canada, which has also been mentioned as a possible source of funding to keep Hinchcliffe at Andretti, is also expected to be confirmed.
In an interview with RACER
late last week, Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Griffiths acknowledged the marque's dialogue and interest in the Andretti team, which has clearly accelerated in the days leading up to Fontana.
"We have had conversations with Andretti," Griffiths said of the reigning IndyCar Series champions. "They have a long, long relationship with Honda and we still have a lot of friends over there. I think over the last couple of seasons they've looked at us and we've looked at them and thought: How did this [deal] not happen before 2012? Perhaps we will talk seriously about getting back together. We obviously know what the team is capable of doing and I think they have made tremendous improvement. Obviously, they've been the dominant team as far as GM camp has been. And they probably consistently won more races than any other team out there. So we'd be foolish not to very seriously consider it."