Go Daddy will not return to Andretti Autosport next season as a primary sponsor according to a report that first appeared in Autoweek and was later backed up by team officials on Friday.
According to Andretti Autosport senior vice president and chief marketing officer John Lopes, it appears that GoDaddy will have a reduced role with the team next season if it has one at all.
"I can't speak for them as a company, but times have changed a little bit for them; they're a company that relies heavily on television and they measure their return on investment based on TV," Lopes said on 1070 the Fan, a radio station in Indianapolis. "I think it's safe to say we've had a long relationship with them -- I think it's going on seven years -- and I'd be surprised if we don't have some type of relationship with them on a going-forward basis.
"[The car] is probably going to look different, but I'd be surprised if they weren't with us in some fashion."
Despite the comments from Lopes, Go Daddy officials have essentially said "not so fast."
GoDaddy says its made NO decisions regarding #IndyCar and any "predictions" made by Andretti Autosport are "definitely premature"— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) September 25, 2013
Nevertheless, retaining the services of current Go Daddy driver James Hinchcliffe is a priority for Andretti Autosport. Hinchcliffe is currently eight in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings and has collected three victories this season. His comedic personality has also made him one of the most well-liked in the paddock amongst the IndyCar fan base.
Lopes added in his radio interview that he has "two or three" companies interested in sponsoring Hinchcliffe's car but that the team hasn't received any commitments yet.
"We're feeling optimistic, cautiously optimistic, that we're going to be able to pull it off with James," Lopes said. "That deal's not done, but we're certainly not giving up the ghost on it."
Despite the negotiations with Go Daddy and missing out on signing Juan Montoya, the team appears intent on expanding to five full-time cars next season. Defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has already been confirmed for next season while Marco Andretti and EJ Viso are expected to finalize their renewals in the coming weeks.
The team is also close on finalizing a deal for defending Indianapolis 500 runner-up Carlos Munoz.