Penske Racing president Tim Cindric says he cannot rule out the possibility that the team's IndyCar squad will have to cut back from three full-time cars to two next year, unless additional sponsorship is found.
The team first added a third car for Will Power at selected races in 2009 and has continued to run three cars at all races the past two years for Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. However, Cindric said that the additional car had only been a last-minute addition for 2011 and would be even more difficult to fund in '12, due to the additional costs involved in switching to the new chassis and engine platforms.
"Three cars is a very difficult situation," Cindric told AUTOSPORT. "It is very difficult to ensure that you have the right kind of funding for that. We have to take more consideration next year with the fact that we have to have all-new equipment, so cash flow is much more difficult. This year we had seven or eight cars, so we just had to look at the operational expense, not the upfront cost. We're going to have to look at that pretty hard this time."
Team owner Roger Penske said that his preference is to keep three cars, but agreed with Cindric that the final decision will be dictated by budget considerations.
"I'm leaning toward three, but it all depends on sponsorship," Penske said.
Power, the only one of the three Penske drivers with a full-season title sponsorship of his car (Verizon Wireless), is understood to have already signed with the team again for next year, while Castroneves and Briscoe currently remain unsigned.