Richie Stanaway will not be driving in Tickford Racing colours during the 2019 Supercars Championship season after the two parties mutually terminated their contract.
“Tickford Racing and Richie Stanaway have elected to terminate their partnership,” a brief Tickford Racing statement reads.
“This decision is mutual, as team and driver believe it is best to part ways at this time. Despite a challenging 2018 Supercars season, we think highly of Richie and wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”
The New Zealander’s future with the team has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks, in no small part due to an underwhelming rookie campaign for the youngster and an apparent falling-out with team boss Tim Edwards.
Stanaway’s two-year deal at Tickford Racing was one of the biggest stories of the 2017-18 off-season. The team made room for him in its four-car line-up by terminating its customer agreement with Jason Bright and then buying a Racing Entitlements Contract from LD Motorsport.
There were big expectations for Stanaway after some outstanding guest outings in a Tickford-entered Ford in the feeder Super2 series and a win as co-driver to Cameron Waters in the Sandown 500 in 2017. Yet he struggled in his rookie campaign in what was a very poor season for the former factory Ford squad, finishing 25th overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings with a single top-ten finish his best result.
With Tickford Racing handing back the #56 REC is purchased to enter Stanaway, his only apparent lifeline would be to claim the #5 entry formerly occupied by Mark Winterbottom whose move to rival outfit Charlie Schwerkolt Racing was announced last month.
Lee Holdsworth – who was dumped from Charlies Schwerkolt Racing to make way for Winterbottom – is now considered the favourite to claim the sole remaining full-time seat at Tickford Racing.
Image via Tickford Racing