Stoddart rules out IRL campaign
|By Jonathan Noble & Steven English||Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 08:47 GMT|
Paul Stoddart has decided not to enter his Minardi Team USA in the IRL IndyCar Series this season.
He doesn't think the team, who ran Robert Doornbos to third in the Champ Car standings last season, could be competitive in their first year of IndyCar with the merger coming together so close to the start of the season.
When asked by autosport.com, he said: "I did enough tugging round at the back to know I don't want to do it again. I had a taste of victory last year and it was very nice, so I'll just take a sabbatical and see what happens.
"I think realistically 2010 is the first opportunity for Champ Car teams to become competitive, when the new car comes."
Stoddart believes the unification of open-wheel racing in North America was for the best, but doesn't think many Champ Car teams will make the switch for 2008.
"What happened was good for North American motorsport, it had to happen. But it wasn't beneficial for any of the Champ Car teams. In anything like this there are winners and losers and all the Champ Car teams were the losers.
"Newman/Haas will be there or thereabouts but I don't think we'll see many other teams go across there. Not because they don't want to, but with four weeks until the start of the season it's a pretty big ask to change your entire operating facility to a car you've never seen, on ovals you've never raced on, and to go out and be competitive."
But Stoddart will field cars in the one-off Champ Car event at Long Beach next month.
"We're going to have fun! I'm going to really enjoy that weekend and we're going all out to do the best job we can for the last ever Champ Car race.
"More above anything else, Champ Car stood for entertainment and fun. I will be sad afterwards as it's the end of an era, but it's overwhelmingly right for North American motorsport to reunify."