In a massive blow to the already shaky Indycar series, Newman-Hass Racing have announced that they will not be taking part in the 2012 season.
In a short statement issued on the team website Carl Hass said that “The economic climate no longer enables Newman/Haas Racing to participate in open wheel racing at this time,”
The team was expected to take part in the series next year which will use the controversial new Dallara designed chassis the DW12.
Founded by legendary Hollywood actor Paul Newman and US Lola importer Carl Hass, the team has been the one of most successful Champcar/Indycar teams ever.
The team won eight championships in CART/Champ Car with Mario Andretti (1984), Michael Andretti (1991), Nigel Mansell (1993), Cristiano da Matta (2002) and Sebastien Bourdais (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007). It accumulated 107 race victories and 109 pole positions.
The withdrawal of the team from Indycar comes only one day after the series announced a massive shake up of it’s organisational structure.
The controversial Brian Barnhart stood down as Race Director to become full time President of Operations.
Terry Angstadt resigned as Commercial Division President and will be replaced by former NFL Director of Operations, Marc Koretzky, who joined INDYCAR in May as Director of Corporate Business Development.
The loss of one of the series most successful teams is the latest in a string of major blows to the series which ended it’s year with a tragic finale at Las Vegas that saw the death of two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon.
The new Dallara (named DW12 in honour of Wheldon) has been disappointing in testing and several traditional small ovals have been dropped from next year’s series due to poor crowds.
The performance of Brian Barnhart as Race Director was constantly criticised with drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves both sanctioned for their criticism of his performance.
On an up note the series will welcome back Chevrolet as an engine supplier in 2012 but with the loss of one of the sport’s most popular and successful teams, one wonders if the latest blow is one that the series can recover from.