Speculation regarding Ryan Briscoe’s future at Team Penske appears to have been answered as SPEED.com has learned the rapid 30-year-old Australian will return to the legendary team for his fifth season with the Tim Cindric-led team.
After a somewhat disappointing 2010 season, Briscoe’s deal to return to Team Penske for 2011 was done late last year, and after going winless for the first time since joining Penske’s IndyCar operation in 2008, questions regarding his continued presence in the three-car outfit grew more frequent until his option was picked up today.
Teammate Will Power dominated the internecine battle, posting consecutive runner-up finishes in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship and 12 wins during his brief time with Team Penske. Prior to Power’s arrival, Briscoe was the driver tasked with leading the team back to glory, but Power’s pace and performance since joining the Penske fold on a part-time basis in 2009 only managed to complicate those plans.
Helio Castroneves, like Briscoe, was also locked out of the win column in 2011–the first time in the Brazilian’s 10-year stint with The Captain.
Castroneves will continue with veteran engineer Ron Ruzewski overseeing his car, but engineering changes are expected for Briscoe.
SPEED.com has learned that Briscoe’s engineer, Eric Cowdin, departed the team to possibly be reunited with Tony Kanaan. Kanaan and Cowdin teamed to win the 2004 IndyCar Series championship while at Andretti-Green Racing.
While Cowdin’s skills and reputation are amongst the finest in open-wheel racing, it’s possible a fresh start for Briscoe with a new engineer could help the six-time race winner to regain the form that nearly delivered the 2009 IndyCar title for Team Penske.
Source: Speed TV