Davey Hamilton to field full-time car in 2015 (Update 4) UPDATE #4 Former IndyCar Series driver Davey Hamilton concluded a multi-year partnership with Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson, and tells RACER.com he's finalizing plans to enter a car of his own in conjunction with an existing IndyCar team.
"I have a passion for IndyCar racing from when I was a little kid to today, and there are some things they need to improve that we all know about; but it's something I still want to be involved with, so I've been working hard to put my own program together and it's getting closer every day," said Hamilton.
"I have a show car, two complete racecars, I own a full hospitality unit, and I have a lot of the equipment to be a true co-owner, and I've built that up over the last few years. I have a vested interest in the series and want to continue to invest in IndyCar. I want to use my assets to work with a team and have them make the most of what I can bring with my equipment and my sponsors, and I'm not looking to do it all myself – from scratch – so it makes sense to partner with a team that can achieve all the goals I just mentioned and for me to be a bigger part of what's going on to deliver that success."
"It's more like filling a slot with an open spot on a team," Hamilton confirmed. "There are some teams that need a program like mine to complete things, and there's others who lost their second car for whatever reason next year, so we have good options. My program right now, it's a year-long effort and could become a multi-year deal, and the multi-year side would allow us to bring partners together to lay the foundation for years to come."
"I'd like to have a decision on where I'll be and have contracts and everything done in the next two to three weeks, but as you know, sometimes those things can take a little bit longer," he said. Tech giant Hewlett-Packard supported Hamilton's racing endeavors through the 2013 season, and it's believed he has another Silicon Valley firm committed to his new efforts.
With new growth in the IndyCar paddock close to non-existent, Hamilton's choice to create a new program based on genuine commercial backing is a refreshing change.
"It's all about ROI with the partners I'm dealing with, and after getting hurt as a driver, I really learned how important it was outside the car to make sure my sponsors were being taken care of and getting the return they need to see," he explained. "Fortunately, everything I've told my sponsors they'd receive they've gotten, so that has helped keep them involved with what I'm working on."02/07/13 One week after telling SPEED.com he would likely sign with a different team, Davey Hamilton has reversed course and will return with sponsor Hewlett-Packard to support the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry.
“I'm definitely not signed with Sam [Schmidt], and I don't know that I will,” Hamilton said last Tuesday. “There's other opportunities out there that make sense for my program a little better. And so I've got to make a decision quickly.”
Subsequent negotiations with Schmidt allowed Hamilton to find a happier common ground to keep his HP funding paired with the Honda-powered No. 77 driven by 2012 Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud.
"Ric Peterson and I worked directly on this deal; Sam was busy and couldn't make it, but it was really easy with the Petersons and I think we'll have a great season together," Hamilton told SPEED.com. The IndyCar veteran also clarified the different SHM/SPM nomenclature that will be seen with the team's two-car program.
"The easiest way to explain it is Schmidt Peterson owns the entire team," he said. "The Schmidt Hamilton entry for Simon Pagenaud with HP is the No. 77 car, and the No. 55 for Tristan [Vautier] is the Schmidt Peterson entry. I'm working with them and they are working with me and it's like two entries under one team. When you see me at the track, I'll have a shirt on that has Schmidt Hamilton on one side, and Schmidt Peterson on the other." speed.com
01/30/13 Davey Hamilton is now on the lookout for a new team to join with longtime sponsor Hewlett-Packard in tow according to Speed.com.
|Smiling like a sly fox, it seems Davey Hamilton has Sam Schmidt just where he wants him. Davey has the money and Sam assumes he is going to get it, but Davey is shopping it.|
In an interview held Tuesday afternoon, the Idaho native tells SPEED.com that returning to the re-named Schmidt Peterson Motorsports outfit isn’t a guarantee, and a final decision on where he’ll land could take a few weeks to sort out.
“I'm definitely not signed with Sam [Schmidt], and I don't know that I will,” said Hamilton. “There's other opportunities out there that make sense for my program a little better. And so I've got to make a decision quickly.”
Hamilton’s enduring relationship with HP has been a source of interest for many teams needing an infusion of cash. Without Hamilton, it’s likely Pagenaud’s 2012 season would have never gotten out of the starting blocks, and there are a few teams that would presently benefit from an alliance with Hamilton and HP to complete their funding requirements.
Returning to SPM to assist with the funding for Tristan Vautier’s newly-announced entry is a possibility, according to Hamilton, as is signing elsewhere.
“I'm very, I guess, fortunate in our sport that there's a lot of people looking for what I have, and so that's a good side of it,” he explained. “The bad side is that I hate to be in limbo and not thinking that I would be, but Sam had to make some decisions that was best for him and his team, which, I'm not so sure it’s going to include me. We'll just see. It could include me as well.
“I'm not saying that he’s not in the running. I really kind of have it narrowed down to three teams but two really, really serious ones. And Sam is in the game. I have some meetings this week including with Sam and his new partner (Ric Peterson) and we're going to work it out and figure out what's best for Hewlett-Packard. And once we figure out who and what's the best for them then that's the way we’re going to go.”01/30/13 Last month, it was announced that Canadian businessman Ric Peterson had joined Schmidt as an equity partner in Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Tristan Vautier, the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion who was announced Jan. 29 as Pagenaud’s teammate, will drive the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car.
"We've known each other for 20 years, raced against each other, participated together in a lot of things over the last 20 years," Schmidt said of Hamilton, who drove the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car in the team's first event in 2001 at Phoenix International Raceway. "We absolutely, positively wouldn't be where we are today without Davey's involvement.
"As far as I'm concerned, we have an agreement, we're headed forward. We're very much looking forward to raising the bar even to another notch in that program." IndyCar.com01/16/13 From @SPMIndyCar
We've changed our handle to reflect our new team name! Read about the new Schmidt Peterson Mtrsprts here: http://ow.ly/gRCeS#IndyCar. So is Davey Hamilton out?