After a strong showing for Newman/Haas Racing at last week's IndyCar Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park, Canada's James Hinchcliffe had high hopes for making his race debut with the team this weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, season opener for the IZOD IndyCar Series. However, his status within the team remained unconfirmed and, on Tuesday, Hinchcliffe reluctantly gave up on competing in Florida, although he said he remains committed to a future with the squad.
"I will not be racing in St. Pete. Having said that, both Newman/Haas and I are more motivated than ever to make 2011 grid ASAP," Hinchcliffe posted on his Twitter account.
The Canadian, a veteran contender in Indy Lights, tested with Newman/Haas several times over the winter. At the Barber test against the full IZOD IndyCar field, he impressed on both days, going second fastest in the opening session and seventh in the second.
Newman/Haas is now expected to enter a single car for Oriol Servia.
Meanwhile, Sarah Fisher Racing announced that it would substitute the road race at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway this summer for driver Ed Carpenter, rather than St. Petersburg, as the team had originally planned. Carpenter is still scheduled to run nine races this year for SFR, including Mid-Ohio and Baltimore in addition to the oval portion of the calendar.
“When we looked at our goals for 2011, our big picture was doing well within the Oval Championship,” said team owner Sarah Fisher. “Supporting that goal, we look to continue to maintain that focus with the Indy 500 as our first event of the season. We are committed to supporting Ed on both the oval and road courses this year and have decided that this race will better support that commitment as well as maintain our focus on the Oval Championship.”