Mikhail Aleshin and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have parted company. Aleshin will not finish the 2017 IndyCar Series season with SPM, choosing to focus on Le Mans and LMP1. After encountering visa issues following his participation in the Le Mans 24 Hours race and missing the Honda Indy Toronto round; Aleshin returned for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
In a statement, SPM did not disclose the reason for the split; only saying that it was ‘mutual’ and highlighting Aleshin’s Le Mans plans.
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Aleshin spent his entire IndyCar Series career with SPM, starting in 2014. Earning a podium at the 2014 Grand Prix of Houston Race 2, before a last-race crash in practice at Fontana in August of that year. The resulting crash caused Aleshin multiple injuries and caused the Russian to sit out most of the 2015 season, returning for the last race of 2015 at Sonoma. In 2016, Aleshin returned to the team full-time, earning another podium finish, this time at Pocono Raceway.
When Aleshin missed Toronto, SPM drafted in Sebastián Saavedra to replace him. Team officials were confident of Aleshin’s return at Mid-Ohio, and the rest of the season.
SPM have not announced a replacement driver. However, an announcement is expected shortly with the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono in a week’s time. Saavedra and Oriol Servia are the leading candidates to replace the ousted Russian.