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Penske will delay driver decision

Helio CastronevesThe Penske team say they are willing to wait until Helio Castroneves' situation is clarified before making any decisions about their 2009 driver line-up.

Castroneves has been indicted on tax evasion charges, and his trial is due to begin just over a month before the IndyCar Series season-opener at St Petersburg.

This could mean he is unavailable for part or all of the championship, but while Penske have investigated alternative drivers, team president Tim Cindric said they would stay loyal to Castroneves for as long as possible.

"We've talked to plenty of (drivers), but it's a bit more complicated because we want to stand by Helio as long as we can, or until we know what his situation is," Cindric told the Indianapolis Star.

"Obviously, we have to have a back-up plan if he isn't able to (drive).

"The easy thing to do would be to say, 'We'll get another guy and we'll see you in 2010.' But we don't feel that's the right thing to do."

Justin Wilson, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay are among the drivers who have been linked to a Penske seat in the event that Castroneves cannot contest the season. Ryan Briscoe is already confirmed in the team's second car.

Castroneves told the Indy Star that he had not yet discussed the 2009 season with Penske.

"I think what they're doing is letting me focus on what's important right now - not that racing is not important - but it's important for me to finish one step at a time," he said. "That's what I'm doing."

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