Tristan Vautier admits that he could switch to sports cars this year if he is unable to find the necessary funding to remain in IndyCar.
The Frenchman earned IndyCar’s Rookie of the Year tirle last season, but admits that he is yet to secure the budget needed to build upon his first year in the series. His seat at Schmidt Peterson, which was funded in part by the $1 million prize he earned for winning the 2012 Indy Lights title, has already been taken by Mikhail Aleshin.
“There are really no seats available unless you’re bringing a significant budget,” Vautier said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something will happen. I’m trying.”
Vautier drove the Speedsource Mazda P2 at last week’s IMSA test at Daytona, and is hopeful that the experience could translate into opportunities for 2014.
“The test went well,” he said. “They’ve already got their full-time drivers but they still need co-drivers for the longer races, and I’d really like to be involved with them this season. But we’ll see.”
While talks with Mazda remain ongoing, the 24-year-old believes that he deserves a chance to continue on in IndyCar, even if he admits that some of his early-2013 form deserted him as the season entered its final races.
“I would really like to get a second chance,” he said. “I showed a lot of potential and a lot of speed. A lot of things went wrong that meant we didn’t always get the results we deserved, especially in the second half of the season.
“But I think if you look at things in a broader way, we were competitive every weekend. Most of the weekends I was very close to [teammate] Simon [Pagenaud], speed-wise, but in the races we didn’t always put things together. But I think I deserve a second chance to try to turn the potential into results.”