Helio Castroneves is being replaced on Team Penske by Australian driver Will Power — at least until the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner's tax evasion trial is resolved.
Castroneves, who has pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy and tax evasion involving about $5.5 million in income stashed in offshore accounts, is scheduled to go to trial in Miami on March 2, just over a month before the IndyCar season begins.
“No question, it's a little bit strange to be in this situation,” Castroneves said Tuesday at a news conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to announce Penske's hiring of Power.
Castroneves said he was innocent of the charges but would not say anything else about the case.
“My life is about racing,” he said. “I feel very confident this thing is going to be over and I'll be back in the race car doing what I love most.”
The second Penske driver is Ryan Briscoe, another Australian.
Penske president Tim Cindric said Power, a former Champ Car star, would handle the winter testing for the car assigned to Castroneves and be ready, if necessary, to race however long it takes to resolve Castroneves' legal problems.
-- The Associated Press