Bryan Herta Autosport said Thursday night it will not travel to next week’s IndyCar race in Brazil and will instead focus on preparing for the Indianapolis 500.
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The team made the announcement via Twitter, and Herta confirmed the decision to The Associated Press.
”It was a logical move after dropping back in points,” Herta said. ”We will be back stronger for Indy and the rest of the season.”
Herta said he and driver Alex Tagliani will still travel to Brazil to host guests of sponsor Barracuda Networks.
IndyCar will load the team’s freight Friday morning and head to Brazil for the April 29 race. The event will still have a full 26-car field because Andretti Autosport had already received permission to enter Brazilian driver Ana Beatriz in her hometown race.
BHA has struggled through the first three races with Lotus, which is the weakest of the three engine manufacturers. Alex Tagliani finished 15th in the season-opening race, but has failed to finish the last two events. His car stopped on the first lap at Barber, leading to a last-place finish, and an overheating issue knocked him out of Sunday’s race at Long Beach just past the halfway point.
It dropped Tagliani to 24th in points, and IndyCar is only covering the expenses to Brazil for the top 22 teams in the standings.
BHA won the Indianapolis 500 last season with the late Dan Wheldon. This year, the team has been hampered in part by its alliance with Lotus, which is admittedly trailing Chevrolet and Honda in both production and power.
A lack of available engines also has prevented Lotus teams from many test sessions, and none could participate earlier this month in the open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.