Jones had ‘Handshake Deal’ with Coyne before Ganassi Move

Credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar

Dale Coyne admitted he was surprised to see 2017 Rookie of the Year Ed Jones depart his team, but he acknowledges that moving to Chip Ganassi Racing is a great opportunity for the Briton.

The Dale Coyne Racing team had expected to field the same two full-time drivers for 2018 as they did last season, with Sebastien Bourdais being partnered by Jones, but now they are looking for a replacement for the #19 Honda.

Team owner Coyne said they had yet to sign a contract for 2018 with Jones, but there had been a ‘handshake deal’ following the season finale at Sonoma Raceway, but now the search is on for a replacement for the driver who finished fourteenth in the championship standings and took a superb podium finish in his first Indianapolis 500.

“We don’t know who our new driver is going to be because we thought [Ed] was returning here, and I think most people did, so the phone has been pretty quiet,” said Coyne to RACER.

“We left Sonoma with a handshake deal and just needed to finish out the contract, so this caught me by surprise.

“It’s a great opportunity for Ed. But it’s not how we left Sonoma. Time to start the [search] process over again.”