Andretti could jump to Honda after Ganassi defection to Chevrolet

Nick Laham

Andretti Autosport has been the top team for Chevrolet over the past two seasons but could jump to Honda after the recent Ganassi Racing defection to the "bowtie brigade."

The announcement that Chip Ganassi Racing will move from Honda to Chevrolet at the end of the season opens the door for a current Bowtie-branded team to defect in response.

With the Ganassi departure, Honda is left without a marquee team representative. Enter Andretti Autosport whom with Ganassi in the picture is suddenly third in the manufacturer's pecking order behind both Ganassi and Penske Racing. It's a fact not lost on Michael Andretti either as he told the Associated Press that it gives him an "interesting decision" to make.

"We are weighing both options in regard to an engine manufacturer for 2014 and working to determine what is best for the team," Andretti told the AP.

The choice Andretti faces is an interesting one. With Chevrolet the past two seasons, Andretti has been overshadowed at times by Penske despite outperforming them on the track.

Andretti won the championship last season with Ryan Hunter-Reay and was first out of the gate this season too. James Hinchcliffe is tied with Scott Dixon for the most wins this season while Hunter-Reay has added two others.

So could Andretti really consider leaving Chevrolet for a Honda program that has struggled to catch their rivals at times this season? Despite both manufacturers winning eight races this season, Honda isn't quite up to par with Chevrolet on the high speed ovals.

Much of that has been attributed to the difference in turbocharger systems that the two nameplates use. When engine competition returned to IndyCar in 2011, Chevrolet returned with a twin turbocharger while Honda employed a single, believed to account for the difference in speed.

But that won't matter next year as IndyCar has mandated that both manufacturers will use a twin turbocharger, a decision that was met with approval from both manufacturers earlier this summer.

So in theory, a more level playing field could make a move over to Honda a difference-maker for Andretti Autosport...or it could backfire if Honda is slow to adapt to the new system.

That is the decision that Michael Decision and company face approaching the off-season. What should his team do? Tell us in the comments section below.

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