McLaren Life banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,843 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
RACER

Image by Portlock/LAT

O'Ward splits with Red Bull – and enters the McLaren IndyCar frame
By: Marshall Pruett, Robin Miller and Chris Medland

Pato O’Ward’s goal of Formula 1 appears to be over, but that’s potentially thrust the talented 20-year-old Mexican right back into IndyCar.
After it was learned Red Bull is ending its relationship with O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion told RACER.com on Friday afternoon that IndyCar is now his primary focus, and speculation is that it could be with Arrow McLaren SP.
“Be patient, good things are coming.” he responded when asked if he was returning to IndyCar, where he began the 2019 season. “My release from Red Bull was going to be November, but Dr. Helmut Marko called and said, ‘Hey you have options in IndyCar, take it. That’s your future’. I really appreciated him doing that.”

McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown was traveling and unavailable for comment but a spokesperson for Arrow McLaren SP said, “We don’t comment on active driver matters. Rest assured when we are in a position to confirm further details, we will.”
Following a dazzling debut at Sonoma in the 2018 finale, in which he qualified eighth, O’Ward was set to team with Colton Herta for Harding/Steinbrenner Racing in 2019. But budget concerns led to his being released just before the IndyCar season started, and he spent seven races running for Carlin before Red Bull snatched him up in May. Following an appearance in Formula 2, he was placed in the Japanese Super Formula category.
At the time that he joined Red Bull, O’Ward was expected to be awarded the Super License required to compete in Formula 1. But after eligibility points were reduced for his Indy Lights title due to the modest car count, the possibility of reaching F1 within the organization became remote. Continuing a relationship with no specific path to the top was deemed untenable.
“The FIA threw us both under the bus,” O’Ward said. “To be fairly honest, I need to go somewhere to earn good money, and F2 wasn’t going to be it. If I’m not going to make it in F1, I wanted to be in IndyCar. Dr. Marko calls me ‘Potato,’ and he called earlier, and said ‘Potato, it’s very hard because you have no Super License points,’ and there was no scenario [racing in Japan] that was going to give me a Super License. I couldn’t do anything [for them] without a Super License. I got signed because of that, and then everything went south.”

O’Ward’s most recent IndyCar appearance came with Carlin at Road America. Image by Abbott/LAT
O’Ward could be the solution McLaren has been seeking in its return to IndyCar with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. After targeting O’Ward’s Indy Lights teammate Herta to lead the re-named Arrow McLaren SP outfit in 2020, a new contract with Andretti Autosport kept the two-time IndyCar race winner from changing teams.
Prior to being signed by Red Bull, O’Ward and Brown met for breakfast in April at Long Beach, and it’s believed O’Ward’s release from McLaren’s F1 rival could ease the path to helming the Chevy-powered IndyCar squad. Arrow McLaren SP has yet to confirm either of its full-time drivers, or its pilot for the third entry it will field at the Indianapolis 500

“I’ve learned that racing not always a nice sport and I’m very grateful to Red Bull for the opportunity,” said O’Ward, who was replaced by Red Bull junior driver Juri Vips in the Super Formula seat.
“It showed me the caliber of person that Dr. Marko is and why he has so much success. Huge respect for him and whole team. He cared about my future, that means a lot. Things didn’t turn out like we expected, but he was concerned about my future, and that is very cool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,843 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Arrow McLaren confirms Askew, O'Ward for 2020; Hinchcliffe out
The new Arrow McLaren SP team officially named Pato O'Ward and Oliver Askew as its drivers for 2020 on Wednesday and confirmed the Indy Lights champions will replace popular IndyCar veteran James Hinchcliffe.
The Canadian Press
James Hinchcliffe

James Hinchcliffe , The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The new Arrow McLaren SP team officially named Pato O'Ward and Oliver Askew as its drivers for 2020 on Wednesday and confirmed the Indy Lights champions will replace popular IndyCar veteran James Hinchcliffe.
Hinchcliffe began driving for Sam Schmidt in 2015, the year he nearly bled to death when a part on his car broken in a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway pierced his leg. He is under contract to the team but being replaced by 2018 Lights champion O'Ward. Askew sealed a deal to replace Marcus Ericsson in the second seat after wrapping up this year's Lights title.

"James Hinchcliffe has concluded his IndyCar racing duties with the team," the team said. "While James will cease racing for the team in 2020, he remains under contract with Arrow McLaren SP but is free to seek and secure alternative options."
Hinchcliffe was already in a bind because of his ties to Honda and personal services agreement as a North American spokesman. But Honda won't work with McLaren because of a bitter breakup in Formula One, so the existing Schmidt team will move to Chevrolet in 2020. The move was going to cost Hinchcliffe significant money, but he was committed to staying with the team and had repeated public assurances from co-owner Schmidt and McLaren CEO Zak Brown that Hinchcliffe would be back.
As a driver under contract with no reason to believe he'd be released, Hinchcliffe was not part of the active free agent market and now finds himself scrambling for a job with very few seats available.

His fate changed when O'Ward gained a release from Red Bull Racing that made the 21-year-old available to join Askew to form the youngest team in the IndyCar paddock. Hinchcliffe learned he was out Sunday night.
McLaren had planned to be a full-time two-car IndyCar team in 2020 but scaled back its plans when it failed to qualify Fernando Alonso for the Indy 500. It has instead partnered with Schmidt and is overhauling the organization with aa clear emphasis on youth. McLaren is doing the same with its F1 lineup.
"I've followed Oliver and Pato closely over the last few years," said team co-owner Sam Schmidt. "I couldn't think of a better pairing as we write the first chapter in Arrow McLaren SP's story. They've proven their skills ... with an Indy Lights championship each. They are ready and deserving of full-time seats in IndyCar. I have no doubt that Oliver and Pato are the right drivers to move Arrow McLaren SP forward."
Schmidt is the winningest Indy Lights team in history with seven championships and has given seats to reigning Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, as well as Robert Wickens in 2018 when he moved from touring cars to Indy cars. Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash at Pocono late in his rookie season and although he vows to race again, he's currently in a wheelchair but attended almost every IndyCar race to assist the team. He and Hinchcliffe are very good friends who grew up racing together in Canada.
Askew, an American who turns 23 in December, won seven races while winning the title this season driving for Andretti Autosport. The Indy Lights title comes with a monetary bonus that pays for the champion to race in at least three IndyCar events, including the Indianapolis 500.
"It's a dream come true to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for my first year in IndyCar," said Askew. "The new team brings together three great partners and it's an honour to be representing them in this new chapter for the team and for my career. This is an exciting new challenge for me and the next natural step after winning the Indy Lights title this year."
O'Ward, a nine-time Lights winner his championship season, had planned to drive alongside Colton Herta last season at Harding Steinbrenner Racing but bailed right before the season opened because he was skeptical of the team funding. Although he landed a few races with Carlin, he failed to qualify for the Indy 500 and then left to join Red Bull's program. The Mexican racer said he's pleased to return to IndyCar.
"I've had some great opportunities over the last year, but this is by far the greatest thing that could possibly happen for my career," O'Ward said. "I had a taste of IndyCar earlier this year and cannot wait to represent Arrow McLaren SP in the best way possible for a full season in 2020."
____
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,843 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
NBCSPORTS


Arrow McLaren Racing SP Photo
McLaren IndyCar boss breaks down team’s first test since missing Indy 500
By Bruce Martin Nov 11, 2019

McLaren Sporting Director Gil De Ferran left Sebring International Raceway last Tuesday with a much happier outlook than when he left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 19.

That was when McLaren and famed two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ill-prepared. They failed to make the 33-car starting lineup for the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
That day in May, De Ferran vowed that McLaren would return.
Last Tuesday, what is now known as Arrow McLaren Racing SP after purchasing into Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, De Ferran was back to evaluate the team’s NTT IndyCar Series effort.
Instead of Alonso in the cockpit, it was the team’s recently named full-time drivers for 2020 at the test. That included 20-year-old Pato O’Ward of Monterrey, Mexico, the 2018 Indy Lights champion and 22-year-old Oliver Askew of Jupiter, Florida, the 2019 Indy Lights champion.
O’Ward was in the car for the test with Askew watching from the pit area.
“Pato did a great job, did not put a foot wrong, got on to it straight away and it was all good,” De Ferran told NBC Sports.com. “It was a positive day on all fronts. To work together, to build the team together and embark on this team together was very positive.”
De Ferran is a two-time CART champion with titles in 2000 and 2001 when he was with Team Penske. He also won the 2003 Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske before retiring as a driver at the end of that season.
Since then, he has been involved in numerous Formula One, IndyCar and Sports Car efforts. As McLaren’s Sporting Director, De Ferran is involved in both Formula One and IndyCar.
Arrow McLaren Racing SP also includes partners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson. Arrow also has a financial stake in the team in addition to serving as sponsor.
The chance to work with two young drivers is something that has De Ferran excited.
“They are both very young, but they have been around for a while,” De Ferran said. “It’s not like these guys are completely clueless about racing. They have been racing ever since they were kids. Generally speaking, as a trend in motorsports, they start much younger than I did. They move to cars at a younger age and tend to reach this level of the sport at a younger age then when I was coming up.
“Although they don’t have a lot of experience in IndyCar, several members of the team can help in their development. These guys are very accomplished and top-level guys. They have won a lot of races and championships before getting the nod from our team.”
Last week’s test was part of INDYCAR’s evaluation of the new aeroscreen that will be on all cars beginning in 2020. Arrow McLaren Racing SP is a Chevrolet team. Honda team Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser and Sullivan also participated in the test with four-time Champ Car Series champion Sebastien Bourdais as the driver.
This was the only test that Arrow McLaren Racing SP will conduct in 2019. Testing time is severely limited De Ferran said it won’t be back on track until the 2020 regulations take effect.
Arrow McLaren Racing SP has already experienced some controversy after the team said several weeks ago that popular driver James Hinchcliffe would not be driving for the team. He remains on the payroll and is expected to be at the track in a public relations capacity.
That has angered many IndyCar fans who are huge fans of the popular Canadian driver.
“I have nothing more to add to this than what was said at the time,” De Ferran told NBC Sports.com. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s head-down. We have to go racing. We are on a journey here together with this partnership and two young drivers that are very accomplished and have a lot of talent. Our job is to deliver the results on the track.
“That is where my focus is. I’m completely focused on improving every aspect of everything that we do trackside.
“One thing I guarantee you, whatever we start, to have that focus to improve everything that we do we will continue to move forward. It was like that when I was driving, and it was like that throughout my professional career away from the cockpit. We will keep looking for opportunities to improve.
“Eventually, good things will happen.”
It was just Day One on the track, but after seeing this team struggle at last year’s Indianapolis 500, McLaren took its first step in returning as a full-time NTT IndyCar Series team.
“This is the beginning of a journey that we embarked on several months ago now and you do a lot in the background,” De Ferran said. “The guys from SPM and us have put a lot into this partnership. Behind the scenes, we have been working hard together.
“We’re all racers, man. We want to see cars on track. This has been like a little check off the box and it feels good that we were on track.
“We have a long journey ahead, but it’s good to be working together, at the race track, how the car is handling, the engine is working and how the drivers do.
“First day on the track for Arrow McLaren Racing SP. It’s a good day.”
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top