Monday, October 29, 2012

(Updated Re: Randy Bernard) Simona To KV: What It Means

(Note: After the news of Randy Bernard's ouster as INDYCAR CEO late Sunday, I considered tanking this piece altogether, but I really don't have any (appropriate) words yet suitable to the situation. So I'm running this article for now, and taking a bit to formulate just what I think of all this. I'll just lead with being immensely, almost biblically angry just now. Rather than say something there's a minor chance I'll regret, I'm going to take a few days or so to attempt to digest some very unpalatable news.

I have received multiple texts and emails already that are incensed at what has transpired. A lot of fans right now are feeling spat upon, ignored, and above all, disappointed and very, very enraged. Words and phrases like  "self-destructive", "betrayed", "idiotic", and "I'm DONE" are flowing freely. I don't have any words of comfort for you, because I'm in the same boat myself. This is unprecedented, absurd, ill-timed, and probably a lot of other colorful words I won't repeat here. All I can say is, don't do anything stupid, take a breath, and step away for a bit if you need to. You won't be alone. 

In any case, here's the article that I had planned to run today. Thanks, IndyCar friends, for reading and for loving this sport with so much passion:)

At the start of last weekend, one of the first dominoes of the IndyCar silly season fell into place, with Simona de Silvestro now known to be leaving HVM Racing in 2013 to become Tony Kanaan's teammate at KV Racing.

It's a big move, and probably a sigh of relief for Simona, who labored through a horrific 2012 season as the driver burdened with a Lotus engine for the entirety of the year. She'll now have Chevy power behind her, which will seem like warp speed after what she had to deal with in terms of a power deficit this past season. In terms of immediate impact for the "Iron Maiden", that's a bit like a free ticket out of Purgatory.

With that said, this probably isn't a move immediately taking the 24 year-old Swiss driver to contention, but it does do a couple of things for her besides getting her an engine. First, she has a veteran teammate in Tony Kanaan, which should help both drivers a bit. TK was staring down a 2013 as a single-car effort at the moment, so that's a nice plus after going at it alone the last three years in the Series.

Now, there are some questions, and they mainly revolve around the teams. As evidenced by much of what went on already this offseason, KV Racing might not be a bastion of stability itself. Big layoffs last month were bad enough, but the team will be missing continuity towards the top, with general manager Mark Johnson and team manager Tom Wurtz topping the names of those figures no longer with the organization. This has been a team that has failed the past two years to take the expected "big next step", and it just hasn't happened yet. Right now, if we're ranking IndyCar teams, KV is probably smack in the middle. Now, de Silvestro, paired with TK, will be their next chance to change that.

Back to de Silvestro, 2013 will be a big year. The rationale for any lack of results the last few years has been the understanding she was on a small, underfunded team. KV Racing is a step up from that, yes, though it isn't a Penske or Ganassi team. Still, this is the last year of her contract with sponsor Nuclear Energy, and as one can imagine, they were not pleased with last year's scenario. It can be reasonably assumed a big year would be a nice antidote to that.

For her old team, HVM, next season is now murkier than ever. They have no driver and no announced engine, though smart money would be on Honda finding some room for them as an additional entry. There are enough drivers shopping some sponsorship that they'll probably make ends meet, but it's very likely to be a "seat of the pants" sort of affair again for Keith Wiggins and crew.

So, while questions swirl for the drivers and team entities involved in this news, there's at least some hope that Simona de Silvestro will have a good situation for 2013, and a team that will support her in showing the Iron Maiden can't just endure the bad times, but can contend in better ones.



  2. My thoughts have been that HVM probably saved a ton of money this past year... they had Lotus factory support, virtually no crash damage, didn't use a lot of tires/fuel, and still received the leader circle money from last year. Hopefully that translates to them being able to bring in a good driver/sponsor this year!

  3. Don't do anything stupid?

    The only stupid thing I've been doing is investing my time and emotions in IndyCar.

    I think I'll take your advice.