The curtain appears to be going down on the De Ferran Dragon team. (LAT photo)
Gil de Ferran says it is unlikely that his IndyCar team will compete with another driver this year after his deal to run Tony Kanaan collapsed due to a lack of sponsorship.
The 2004 IndyCar champion had signed for the de Ferran Dragon squad before Christmas, having parted company with Andretti Autosport after eight years when the main sponsor on his car pulled out of the sport. But earlier this week Kanaan revealed that he and de Ferran had not been able to attract the required funding to go ahead with their 2011 partnership.
"When Tony and I put the deal together we both knew that it had to make financial sense and we set ourselves certain targets," said de Ferran. "We believed that together we were a strong proposition both on and off the track and really felt we could have become a major force in the championship in 2011 and beyond. Despite our collective best efforts, we have not been able to secure the sponsorship funds to go any further.
"Regarding the future of our team, at this point we are unclear of our plans; nevertheless it is unlikely that we will participate in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series. I want to take this opportunity to thank our staff, sponsors, Tony, friends and supporters for the tremendous efforts in trying to make our program successful."
De Ferran Dragon Racing was formed at the start of last year when 2000-'01 Champ Car champion and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner de Ferran merged his ex-American Le Mans Series team with Steve Luczo and Jay Penske's Luczo Dragon IndyCar squad. Kanaan hopes he can still find an IndyCar seat with another team.
"Gil and I have decided to go our separate ways," said Kanaan. "I wish both him and his team all the best but, unfortunately, we couldn't find the required funding for the season. For sure it wasn't through lack of effort.
"For me personally, I am determined to race in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year and I am going to continue to do everything in my power to secure the best opportunity for 2011."