Motegi date key to merger talks

The Indy Racing League's scheduled date at Motegi on 19 April is the key to the planned merger between the IndyCar Series and the rival Champ Car World Series

Motegi date key to merger talks

The IRL race in Japan clashes with the Champ Car round at Long Beach, which is one of three events that will be added to the IndyCar calendar if the proposed deal goes ahead.

The Long Beach street race date is not flexible because a contract is in place to close the roads for the event only on that specific weekend, so Motegi would have to be rescheduled.

IRL boss Tony George and series presidents Terry Angstadt and Brian Barnhart will fly to Japan tomorrow to encourage Motegi officials to move the race to another weekend.

George warned against over-optimism until all issues were resolved and a deal was completed.

"Every time we seem to get close [to a successful merger], a new obstacle gets in the way," he told American newspaper the Indianapolis Star.

Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven agreed that there will be no progress with the amalgamation until the Motegi date is moved.

"As long as [circuit owner] Honda won't move Motegi, there won't be a merger," he told the Associated Press.

"It's a major hurdle but it's not the only one. There are significant advantages in merging but there are also significant advantages in not doing it. But at the moment there are no discussions until they move Motegi."

Kalkhoven also expressed his disappointment that details of the latest round of merger talks had been leaked to the press. Respected American journalist Robin Miller broke the story on the SpeedTV website last night.

"Once again, as has happened previously in the past four years, somebody has leaked a story to the press, and the press has turned it into a tornado," he told the Indianapolis Star.

"Now it has everyone running around in a circle. It's almost malicious, and it disappoints and infuriates me.

"We were very close to a deal a couple of years ago and everything got leaked. Then instead of the key people working it out, everybody gets involved in the discussion. If people are trying to help unification, silence is the best thing."

Senior IRL officials are currently negotiating with other circuits about adjusting their dates to accommodate Champ Car rounds at Edmonton and Surfers Paradise into the IRL season.

But George admitted that rearranging the schedule less than two months before the opening round would be a major challenge.

"You just can't go changing all the dates around when you have contracts," he told the Indianapolis Star.

shares
comments
Unified series 'closer than ever'
Previous article

Unified series 'closer than ever'

Next article

Champ Car: merger talks have stalled

Champ Car: merger talks have stalled
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021