Meira: Kanaan likely to get ride
Vitor Meira has spent a considerable amount of time with Tony Kanaan lately -- training for and competing in triathlon races -- and he has formulated an opinion about the unemployed former Izod IndyCar Series champion: Getting a ride for next season won't be difficult; getting one that pays well likely will be.
Both drivers are in Brazil this week, and Meira said Thursday that companies in their home country don't figure to provide the level of sponsorship that Kanaan seeks.
Kanaan, who lost his ride with Andretti Auto- sport after 7-Eleven did not renew, is looking for $3 million per year to help fund a ride. He made that amount last season with Michael Andretti's team.
"It's tough to find money in Brazil right now," Meira said. "I'm sure if late January comes, he'll be the first one called, if he's still available. But if he wants to get a very big (contract), he's probably not going to get it."
Kanaan is starting to realize that, too. In texts this week, the driver who turns 36 on Dec. 31 said "lots of people (are) trying to help" but "I need a miracle."
Though IndyCar now has a race in Sao Paulo, Meira said the series has three fundamental hurdles when it comes to attracting Brazilian sponsors. The first is the lack of a strong television package in the country. Band, the TV network holding IndyCar's rights in Brazil, isn't widely available and is dwarfed by Globo, which features Formula One.
"The second problem here is the distance (to the U.S.)," Meira said. "Companies can't take their customers and employees to races like U.S. companies do. That's customer relations.
"And then there's the currency (problem). One U.S. dollar costs almost two Reals. Companies here have a lot of (cheaper) choices, so it's a tough call." Indy Star