Honda insists that it is not in a rush to secure a big IndyCar team to replace current flagship squad Ganassi when it switches camps to Chevrolet next year.
While several Honda teams have won races this season, Ganassi is the only team in its current guise with an extensive track record of championship and Indianapolis 500 wins.
Chevrolet’s group includes reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport as well as multiple Indy 500 winner and regular title contender Penske. Penske’s close alliance with Chevrolet rules out any changes on that front, leading to growing speculation about whether Andretti could use Honda power next year.
Andretti is yet to confirm its engine plans for 2014. However HPD technical director Roger Griffiths says that despite the hole Ganassi’s departure will leave, finding a like-for-like replacement is not necessarily a priority.
“We still have a job to do with Ganassi,” he said. “We’ve still got a championship to win for us and for Scott [Dixon]. Yes, it’s important to have a strong team, but it’s more important to have depth within your teams.
“If you rely on one individual team to try and do it for you every time and something goes wrong with those guys, you’re left looking. Yes, we’d love to have a big-name team. But that’s not necessarily important if that big-name team can’t deliver.
“You saw earlier in the year when our big-name team, for whatever reason, wasn’t getting it done, but we had good results from AJ Foyt Racing, we had good results from the Coyne guys, Rahal’s guys were up there running well. So that’s we’ve got to focus on; the breadth of our group, rather than the pinnacle.”
This weekend, Honda briefly moved into the lead of the manufacturers’ championship for the first time in the current engine war era courtesy of Dixon’s win in the opening race of the Houston double-header. Will Power’s victory in race two then meant Chevrolet drew level with Honda again, leaving the two engine builders tied in the standings heading to the Fontana finale.