Andretti Green Racing team boss Michael Andretti says the speculation over Danica Patrick's future will not be a distraction during this year's IndyCar Series.
Patrick's AGR contract expires at the end of this year. She has already been mentioned in connection the new USF1 Formula 1 project - a possibility Patrick herself has played down - but as one of America's highest-profile and most marketable racing drivers she has also been mooted as a target for NASCAR teams.
The 26-year-old was previously linked to a NASCAR move prior to joining AGR in 2007.
Andretti acknowledged that Patrick's future was likely to be one of the stories of the season, but said AGR was accustomed to being the centre of media attention since signing her.
"This team is used to that sort of thing. It seems like every year we go through something, and that's not a problem," said Andretti.
"I think we all know what we need to do with Danica, she knows what she needs to do, and we're hoping that she's going to be here for a long time. She hasn't expressed anything to us that would lead us to believe that she doesn't want to be here.
"So I don't know. It's just that time of the year when people find out that someone is in their final year of their contract, they're just going to latch on to that and come up with all kinds of rumours and all that.
"We are going to have that, but I think we're close enough with her and everything that that shouldn't be a distraction."
AGR has reshuffled its staff over the winter, with Andretti himself now calling Patrick's strategy and Marco Andretti's former engineer Eddie Jones moving to Patrick's car.
"I really need another job like a hole in the head, but I'm excited about the challenge," said Michael Andretti. "The team as a whole just felt that I would be able to help Danica. She seems to respond to me in a lot of ways, and we felt that I might be able to use some of my experience to help her."
The changes also see Peter Gibbons, who was Michael Andretti's engineer during his Newman/Haas heyday in Champ Car, working with Marco Andretti this season, while Tony Kanaan will be engineered by Allen McDonald - who took Dario Franchitti to the 2007 title.
Kanaan's previous engineer Eric Cowdin moved to Penske over the winter after 13 seasons of working with the Brazilian.
"I really, really feel that every single change that has been made has been a real positive for the team," said Michael Andretti. "I'm actually quite excited. I think we've hit the right combination for all four cars with this."