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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.
 

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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."
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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.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Top Stories of 2019, #16: IndyCar takes aeroscreen plunge

Top Stories of 2019, #16: IndyCar takes aeroscreen plunge


By: David Malsher
Dec 16, 2019, 7:52 AM

Motorsport.com continues its annual countdown of the biggest stories in racing with IndyCar’s confirmation that Red Bull Advanced Technologies' aeroscreen will become mandatory in 2020.


It’s easy to be hardline or callous about someone else’s life rather than one’s own, and so there were a few protests from some fans when IndyCar confirmed last May that in 2020 it would be introducing a spec aeroscreen from Red Bull Advanced Technologies.
Those with a better perspective on progress in racing applauded the decision. Considering every other aspect of cockpit safety has improved over the years, it had begun to look truly incongruous that the racers’ heads had been left so exposed and vulnerable, improvements in helmet technology notwithstanding.
Initially IndyCar had worked on a more handsome and simple-looking device from PPG, which resembled an extended and raised version of what was seen on the Penske PC6s from 40 years ago. In 2018, Scott Dixon tested this screen at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway and Josef Newgarden tried it at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and both champions were left impressed at how little vision distortion they had experienced, despite the predictably tight front aspect of the device.
However, that creation couldn’t possibly be as strong in impact tests as what emerged from RBAT, which was a device that includes a Pankl-constructed horseshoe-shaped top frame – yes, akin to F1’s halo – and central strut, sheathed in a laminated screen made by PPG. Both screen and frame have matched all expectations in impact tests, and this combo is what all IndyCars will utilize in 2020.
Back in October, we interviewed Tim Baughman, IndyCar’s director of track safety and he was effusive in his praise for IndyCar for not merely keeping the safety team in the loop throughout the development of the aeroscreen but in also actively seeking advice and following it. The result is a construction which, contrary to the worries expressed by some regarding cockpit access in the event of an accident, has produced merely an alteration in procedure for safety workers.
But it was interesting, too, noting how Baughman – as considerate a humanitarian as you could hope to meet in a racing paddock – believes the aeroscreen is the next great step in driver protection and that his wish was that it could have been invented many years earlier.
He, like most others, doesn’t believe the presence of the screen somehow diminishes the gladiatorial image of IndyCar drivers, any more than Audi’s WEC drivers were regarded as wimps or missing a significant part of the sport’s challenge when the Ingolstadt manufacturer switched from the open-cockpit R8s/R10s/R15s to the closed-top R18.
It is a fact that in topline open-wheel racing over the past decade, the accidents that have caused head injuries and amazing escapes from head injuries have almost all been cases in which the victim/near-victim has been blameless. So it’s surely unreasonable to expect a driver to risk unnecessary cranial damage when there is an alternative such as an aeroscreen available.

One assumes that no one reading this would ask a 21st-century IndyCar driver today to race while dressed in t-shirt, slacks and cork helmet, as per his counterparts from 70 years ago, so what’s the difference? Assuredly Mauri Rose, Ted Horn and their peers would not have spurned present day safety measures had they been accessible in their era.
There’s no doubt that the aesthetics of the aeroscreen will take some getting used to, especially when seen from the fully head-on position, since optical illusions make it appear as if the top of the screen is wider than the bottom, like a wastepaper basket. In superspeedway form, the screen’s frame appears bulkier, too, because of the relatively slender cord of the front and rear wings.
But everyone will get used to it; they always do. Heck, most of us even got used to those ugly manufacturer aerokits, which looked bad from almost every angle. The aeroscreen looks sleek from any view that reveals its rake – aided by teams using the top frame in body color as an area to run sponsor decals.
Those drivers who have tested with the aeroscreen have been impressed with it, too, although finding a way to ventilate the cockpit – in particular, the drivers’ helmet area – has been troublesome and may well result in attachments that force air into the helmet, a la NASCAR. But there’s no way anyone could consider this minor inconvenience as a valid reason to delay the screen’s introduction.
The drivers will suck it up, just as the engineers have dealt with the revised weight distribution caused by the car’s center of gravity being raised and brought forward.
Soon enough, everyone will be treating the aeroscreen’s knock-on effects as second nature, its novelty aspect will fade away, and it might finally be credited appropriately as a huge step forward for open-wheel racing.
Click here to see the list of Top 20 stories so far.
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda with aeroscreen

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda with aeroscreen
Photo by: IndyCar
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Honda vetoes Alonso/Andretti Indy 500 deal
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
RACEFANS
Ferrari, Interlagos, 2019Ferrari confirm they are considering a move into IndyCar
IndyCar
Posted on
14th May 2020, 21:26 | Written by Keith Collantine

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed the team is evaluating a future move into IndyCar racing.

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Binotto previously warned the team may consider racing in series other than Formula 1 if the budget cap slated for introduction next year fell below $145 million. As RaceFans reported last week, teams are closing on a deal to lower the cap to $145m next year and reduce it further over the following seasons.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Binotto said the team would “review its organisation” as a result of the reduction in the cap, which originally stood at $175 million plus exceptions.
Binotto indicated a move into IndyCar would be in addition to their F1 programme and allow them to reduce job losses as a result of the cap.
“As Ferrari we feel strong social responsibility towards our employees and we are concerned about their future,” said Binotto. “Which is why we are also looking at other alternatives besides Formula 1, such as IndyCar for example, and we will try to make the best choice. In addition to F1 which is part of our history.”

Start, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500, 2019Ferrari could return to the Indianapolis 500Ferrari is the only team which has competed in every season of F1, though not every race, since the world championship began 70 years ago.

IndyCar is a much more technologically restrictive category than Formula 1. Teams use single-specification chassis supplied by Dallara.
Two competing engine manufacturers are involved in the championship at present – Honda and Chevrolet. They use 2.2-litre V6 twin-turbo engines with no hybrid component. Hybrid systems are due for introduction in 2022.
In the mid-eighties Ferrari team founder Enzo Ferrari famously threatened to enter IndyCar racing – then run by CART – in a dispute over the future Formula 1 rules. The team built a car compliant with the regulations, the 637, but it never raced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
“The 200-lap race starts at 8 p.m. (ET) tonight and will be televised live on NBC”

DIXON SIZZLES WITH 215-MPH LAP IN EVENTFUL TEXAS PRACTICE
By INDYCAR | Published: Jun 6, 2020
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Scott Dixon on track

FORT WORTH, Texas – Five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon led the first practice of the 2020 season, turning a top lap of 215.995 mph today during preparations for the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Dixon’s top speed came on the second-to-last of his 60 laps in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda on the 1.5-mile oval, which was scorched by sunny skies and air temperatures in the mid-90s.
CLICK HERE: Practice 1 results
Honda-powered drivers captured five of the first six spots on the speed chart. Colton Herta was second overall at 214.491 in the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda, while Pato O’Ward was third at 214.326 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Zach Veach was fourth at 214.298 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, while Marco Andretti rounded out the top five at 214.264 in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda.
Reigning series champion and 2019 Texas race winner Josef Newgarden was seventh overall at 213.308 in the No. 1 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.
All 24 drivers in the field turned laps during practice. There were three separate incidents during the one hour, 50-minute practice, which started with a short session for rookies only.
2012 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Ryan Hunter-Reay missed a portion of the practice session after his No. 28 DHL Honda got above the groove exiting Turn 2 and hit the SAFER Barrier. Hunter-Reay was unhurt and cleared to drive after examination in the infield medical center, and his car incurred only minor damage.
It was a tough practice for Ed Carpenter Racing, with separate incidents for team owner/driver Ed Carpenter and rookie Rinus VeeKay.
Carpenter’s No. 20 Ed Carpenter Chevrolet spun exiting Turn 4 and through the infield grass, barely brushing the outside SAFER Barrier in the first dogleg of the front straightaway, nearly an hour into the practice session. He was unhurt and cleared to drive, and his car suffered only minor damage.
Practice for rookies was halted a few minutes into the session when VeeKay crashed between Turns 3 and 4 in the No. 21 Sonax Chevrolet. VeeKay’s left-side tires dipped below the white line at the inside of the racing surface, causing the car to do a half-spin and hit the SAFER Barrier with the left-rear and left side of the car. VeeKay was unhurt and cleared to drive. His car suffered moderate damage, with the ECR crew working vigorously to repair it for qualifying later this afternoon.
“It was a rookie mistake, going too low,” VeeKay said. “I will definitely learn from this. If you make a mistake, it’s done.”
Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award starts at 5 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on NBCSN and streamed on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. The 200-lap race starts at 8 p.m. (ET) tonight and will be televised live on NBC, the first prime-time network broadcast of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES since 2013.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2019
All Indy 500 entrants will qualify as 33-car field is confirmed
IndyCar
Posted on
11th August 2020,
Written by Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso will be spared a repeat of his failure to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 when he returns to the Brickyard this month.


IndyCar has confirmed 33 cars for the postponed running of its blue riband race. With the same number of places on the grid for race, all drivers stand to qualify for this year’s event.

Last year 36 cars entered the race. Alonso’s sole McLaren-run entry was among the three who failed to qualify, along with Max Chiltonand Patricio O’Ward.
He is returning to the race with McLaren SP, the entry formed by McLaren and Schimdt Peterson over the winter, alongside the team’s two full-time drivers O’Ward and Oliver Askew.
It will be Alonso’s third attempt to complete his ‘Triple Crown’ of victories in the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indianapolis 500. Alonso already has two wins apiece at Monaco and La Sarthe.
He will be up against eight previous winners of the 500. Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Tony Kanaan have all run the race once, while three-times winner Helio Castroneves is seeking a record-equalling fourth win. Josef Newgarden, the reigning, two-time IndyCar champion, is bidding for his first Indianapolis 500 victory.
Alonso will be part of a three-strong McLaren SP line-up. Ganassi will have its regular trio of drivers, while Penske has expanded to four and Andretti will field a total of six.
The race has been postponed from its usual May weekend to August due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and will be held behind closed doors with no spectators present.
2020 Indianapolis 500 entry list
CarDriverTeam
1Josef NewgardenPenske
3Helio CastronevesPenske
4Charlie KimballFoyt
5Patricio O’WardMcLaren SP
7Oliver AskewMcLaren SP
8Marcus EricssonGanassi
9Scott DixonGanassi
10Felix RosenqvistGanassi
12Will PowerPenske
14Tony KanaanFoyt
15Graham RahalRLL
18Santino FerrucciCoyne Vaser Sullivan
20Ed CarpenterCarpenter
21Rinus VeeKayCarpenter
22Simon PagenaudPenske
24Sage KaramDreyer & Reinbold
26Zach VeachAndretti
27Alexander RossiAndretti
28Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti
29James HinchcliffeAndretti
30Takuma SatoRLL
41Dalton KellettFoyt
45Spencer PigotRLL Citrone Buhl
47Conor DalyCarpenter
51James DavisonCoyne Ware Byrd Belardi
55Alex PalouCoyne Goh
59Max ChiltonCarlin
60Jack HarveyMeyer Shank
66Fernando AlonsoMcLaren SP
67JR HildebrandDreyer & Reinbold
81Ben HanleyDragonSpeed
88Colton HertaAndretti Harding Steinbrenner
98Marco AndrettiAndretti Herta
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
JALOPNIK

Check Out McLaren's Totally Bitchin' Motorhome
Bradley Brownell


Photo: McLaren


It is absolutely astonishing that this 1972 Ford Condor RV, dubbed The Magic Bus, is still in the condition it is. The gorgeously-presented green velour interior is proper 1970s nostalgia. The motor coach was painted in an orange papaya paint scheme with a hand-painted kiwi bird logo on the side as this was a hospitality vehicle for the head of McLaren Engines to use trackside for various Can Am, USAC, and F1 events. After a particularly rabid bidding war, current McLaren CEO Zak Brown purchased this delightful machine on Bring A Trailer just two months ago for $32,500. Now it’s trackside at Indy serving the orange team yet again.

In this short but very sweet video from Arrow McLaren SP, the team’s three drivers—Oliver Askew, Patricio O’ward, and Fernando Alonso—climb aboard the Magic Bus for a bit of a history lesson. It’s funny to see 39-year-old Fernando Alonso talking to his 21 and 23-year-old Indy 500 teammates about their heroes. Pato, for example, recounts growing up idolizing the likes of Alonso, Hamilton, and Vettel, while Fernando’s own heroes were Prost, Senna, and Schumacher.

Photo: Arrow McLaren SP
Even after more than twenty years in the top level of the sport, F1 and Le Mans champ Alonso still has the enthusiasm and understanding of the history of the team he is currently working for. He knows the historical context, and knows the part he is playing in it. The young guns of the McLaren team are too young to see everything through his aged and wizened eyes, but perhaps one day they will.
But aside from the conversation between racers, it’s the RV that stands on center stage. This big yellow bastard has lived through and seen a whole lot more than all three of these young punks put together. A decade before Fernando was even born, the McLaren RV was trackside experiencing history as it happened, and has barely a single scar to show for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Autosport
Brown: O'Ward and Rosenqvist have "superstar" status in IndyCar

David Malsher-Lopez, Luke Smith
Sat, December 5

Brown: O'Ward and Rosenqvist have

McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes the 2021 Arrow McLaren SP line-up of Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist holds a "superstar" status, and that the team hit its targets for 2020.
Speaking to the media ahead of this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the 2020 Formula 1 season, Brown declared himself content with the first year of the Arrow McLaren SP programme.
Despite this being his first full season in IndyCar, O'Ward claimed a remarkable fourth in the IndyCar drivers' championship, finishing four races on the podium and claiming a pole position.
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With Oliver Askew (who also claimed a podium) now gone, the second car will be driven by Rosenqvist in 2021. The Swedish driver claimed his first IndyCar victory this year driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, when he hunted down and passed O'Ward in the second Road America race (pictured above), overtaking the Mexican 20-year-old on the penultimate lap.
"I'm really happy with how IndyCar played out this year. I think we've found a superstar in Pato O'Ward. He's been extremely impressive," Brown said, when asked by Autosport about O'Ward's performances.
"I think Felix Rosenqvist is another superstar. He's won in pretty much everything he's done, so I think we're going to have a great driver line-up.
"Everything that we hoped to achieve in year one we've achieved. We have integrated McLaren Racing into Arrow McLaren SP, so we have a nice, great team back at the MTC [McLaren Technology Centre] dedicated to IndyCar and also spending a lot of time at the IndyCar races.
Brown: O'Ward and Rosenqvist have

"And commercially, Arrow Electronics, which is the title sponsor of our IndyCar team, we hoped to expose some of the IndyCar partners to Formula 1, we've done that, Arrow joined us in Formula 1 and just announced yesterday a long-term extension.
"On the flipside, BAT [British American Tobacco, whose Vuse vaping product is marketed on the McLaren cars] is a very important partner to us in Formula 1 and are involved in our IndyCar team.
"So finishing fourth in the championship with Pato, almost winning a race, a handful of podiums, two exciting drivers and commercially our Formula 1 partners supporting our IndyCar team, our IndyCar partners supporting our Formula 1 team - that ticked all the boxes that we hoped to when we laid out the criteria of why we wanted to get involved in IndyCar.
"So a good place to start from and hopefully win some races next year."
Brown also confirmed that the team will run an extra entry in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 next May. The team that McLaren bought into, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, has a tradition of running strong third - and even fourth - entries at the Brickyard, and this year that entry was for Fernando Alonso.
"We're going to run a third car in the Indy 500 again," said Brown, later adding, "I think we're in a good place. We don't have anything done yet, but I think we will shortly."
 

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THE-RACE

INSIDE McLAREN’S FIRST INDYCAR SEASON: WAS IT GOOD ENOUGH?

By Jack Benyon

When a brand like McLaren enters an elite motorsport championship, people expect instant success. In 2020, its ‘new’ IndyCar operation failed to win a race but took a strong fourth in the championship with a near-rookie driver.

So just how successful was Arrow McLaren SP’s IndyCar ‘debut’?

It was late in 2019 that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and McLaren announced its joint IndyCar plan. Of course, McLaren had entered the Indianapolis 500 with Fernando Alonso in a 2017 alliance with Andretti Autosport and followed that up with the ill-fated 2019 solo bid, but this news marked McLaren’s first foray into full-time North American competition in decades.

While the team did fail to score a victory – something it had been able to do as SPM as recently as 2018 – Patricio O’Ward spent a long period in third in the championship before dropping back to fourth due to a late surge from Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta.

Ntt Indycar Series Honda Indy 200 At Mid Ohio


On the face of it, 2020 should have been the perfect year for the underdog with the aeroscreen being added to the car. It increased the centre of gravity and weight over the front wheels, leading to a set-up nightmare for the teams, which had to factor in underlying understeer induced by the new device.

There was a chance that adapting to that would mix up the order and throw the big three – Andretti, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Team Penske – off course, but the COVID-19 pandemic added a fresh layer of complication for Arrow McLaren SP’s efforts.

After all, it had added a bevvy of new staff to support its new venture – though the existing team remained mostly in place – and it wasn’t just personnel that changed, but the whole way of working.

Like the McLaren F1 team, AMSP now has a team ‘back at base’ during race weekends as well as between races. A small group of technical personnel based at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking process data and communicate live with the team in the US to get the best out of the machinery at hand every session.

Mclaren Technology Centre Exterior, Aerial View


It’s a new venture in IndyCar and a totally new way of working; learning how to process that data, who is responsible for elements of communication, how decisions are made based on the leadership structure and information provided and so on. All that coming with the asterisk that – although engineering principles don’t change – most of the staff embedded with McLaren in Indianapolis and Woking had little or no oval or series experience.

The pandemic only fed the uncertainty over how all of that worked, with time in the factory reduced due to a lockdown before the season finally got underway in June, and as the season progressed condensed weekends meant less time for the team to be effective in reading and interpreting data because of reduced track time over the race event.
Even the existing SPM element of the team had a new set of parameters to work with, not only with the addition of the aeroscreen on the cars it admittedly knew well by now, but also via a switch to Chevrolet power from Honda (which had gone through a painful three years with McLaren in F1).
All of those factors meant predicting how good Arrow McLaren SP would be was a lottery. If it struck lucky on a set-up, maybe it would impress but fail to match that with consistency due to its new work methods. If it didn’t find that sweet spot and the team’s upheaval fed poor communication, it could have been a hot mess.
Luckily for the team, it was probably better than it could have hoped for given the external pandemic factors at play.
Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Gateway IndyCar 2020

“I think from a general perspective, we’re very happy with how things went,” Arrow McLaren SP managing director Taylor Kiel tells The Race in an exclusive post-season interview.
“When you onboard a programme like McLaren, there’s a lot to get through, there’s a long checklist of items that you want to accomplish from the perspective of ways of working procedurally.
“But most importantly it’s integrating the people, which is a difficult proposition when you’ve got a group working in the UK and a group working in the US on Eastern Time [five hours behind].
“It all seems very basic, but in the middle of a race season that just so happens to fall in the middle of a global pandemic, it was a lot of work.
Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar 2020

“But I think we can look back on it and feel good about the success that we had this year, both on track but also with integration of both teams.
“We had a goal to form a strategic partnership and improve in many areas across the team and I think we can say that we did that.
“Are we there yet? No, we’re not at the finish line and we never will be. So it’s a constant review process and it’s constant improvement. So, yes, happy with where we got this year but excited to see where we can get next year.”
Both the existing team in place (including previous SPM employee Kiel) and McLaren had a feeling about how it wanted that relationship to work, and when you employ top-quality people within those roles, things are likely to go well.
Perhaps the lowest-key of all the signings was Andrew Jarvis, Lando Norris’s 2019 race engineer at McLaren, perhaps most famous for the phrase ‘me shoes’, or the helmet Norris gave him in their last race together. Both are worth a Google.
Lando Norris Andrew Jarvis McLaren

It just so happened Jarvis was looking to move to the States regardless of the IndyCar programme, as his wife is from there. Gil de Ferran – the chief of the McLaren side of the operation and another brilliant albeit more obvious big-name hire – snapped him up immediately.
“My main role when I’m at the track is being a conduit between McLaren and the IndyCar side,” Jarvis tells The Race in an exclusive chat with us after his first full season embedded with the team, albeit working remotely on non-race weekends from San Francisco.
“We are obviously one team, but there is some learning that we need to do, particularly on McLaren’s side from how to go IndyCar racing. And that has been my main role.
“So my weekends are basically trying to learn – very much this year being the first year and with the shortened weekends – from the IndyCar engineers: ‘How do you set-up the car? Why have you made this decision? Why have you changed the camber like this?’
“But on top of that it is to try and bring some expertise from the F1 side.
Carlos Sainz, Mclaren Mcl35 F1

“Through the sessions, I’m not necessarily operational. I’ll watch the data and I’ll comment on it and I’ll tell the race engineer that maybe he needs to think about this in this corner.
“And then, between sessions, I’m looking again at the drivers’ data and the set-up data as well, saying, well, maybe we should consider this because of this and that. Kind of a more consultancy role rather than the operation part.”

Imagine running an IndyCar team and being able to bring in a bright, motivated, F1-successful race engineer and just have them there, purely interpreting data to get the most out of the driver? It’s an incredible resource to have and there are less obvious but similar roles scattered through the team that bring F1 quality to the IndyCar environment.
It’s not that IndyCar is sub-par compared to F1, and Jarvis stressed that there’s a lot of learning being done by McLaren as well as vice-versa. But that fresh input from people who have reached the pinnacle of the sport can only help it improve on the Stateside element of the equation, even if the series is a different challenge to F1 with a spec chassis.
On track, O’Ward scored 10 top-10 finishes across 14 races in 2020, with three-second places. On all three of those occasions he was just slightly outdone by the competition, with Road America the real disappointment as his tyres just disappeared while Felix Rosenqvist was able to keep his alive on his Ganassi-run car to take a late victory.
Fernando Alonso Indy 500

The Indianapolis 500 was the event that raised the most attention on the programme due to the size of the event and the addition of Fernando Alonso, with Jarvis as his performance engineer and Craig Hampson playing a key role.

Unfortunately for them, after Alonso crashed in practice, a handling problem in the race potentially caused by that crash and a clutch issue added up to a disappointing result.
The fact that Chevrolet appeared to lack the power of the Honda entries was relevant, but also O’Ward was able to shine and finished as the event’s top rookie in sixth – showing more where the team’s ultimate pace could be.
Sadly it was here that the well-liked rookie Oliver Askew’s season fell apart. He crashed heavily in the 500 and in the rounds afterwards he competed while suffering the effects of concussion, not seeking help for another five races.
Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP

The crash came just after the reigning Indy Lights champion’s podium at Iowa and a top-six finish in the second race of that double header but his results, performance and career plummeted in the aftermath.

The timing of the decision to oust Askew was as poor as it gets given his concussion had not long since become public knowledge, but the team had clearly already decided to go in a different direction earlier on, securing Rosenqvist’s services for 2021.
While Arrow McLaren SP perhaps gave up on Askew too quickly, signing Rosenqvist for any team will always make sense.
A lot was made of the younger partnership of O’Ward – just eight races into his IndyCar career – and rookie Askew being like McLaren’s F1 line-up of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr. The youthful and fun demeanour outside of the car has been extremely attractive to the F1 squad’s marketing, and it has stayed true to that for 2021 by signing Daniel Ricciardo to replace the Ferrari-bound Sainz.
Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren F1

Perhaps that’s where this year went wrong for AMSP in IndyCar – it didn’t have its Sainz. O’Ward and Askew were an incredibly inexperienced duo whereas Sainz had already experienced the ups and downs of F1, Red Bull’s cut-throat junior programme and the rejection of Renault. That led to him being one of the most underrated drivers in F1 when he arrived at McLaren in 2019, and he’s gone from strength to strength at a team that made him its leader.
That’s exactly where Rosenqvist should come in. Like Sainz, he’s always been considered a number two in IndyCar, being Scott Dixon’s understudy at Ganassi. His first season was immense but the second failed to show signs of progression.
Felix Rosenqvist

Now he is in at Arrow McLaren SP as a leader – something that Kiel expects of him – in terms of his experience, while he is still considered a lost F1 talent in Europe.
Getting back to the original question of how good the team’s season was, it’s clear to see it faced a whole load of uncertainty and delivered much better performances than it did the year before, so that’s a success.
The emergence of O’Ward is another win for the team, giving it a peaky but high-upside driver for the future who can tidy the roughness around his edges. Rosenqvist brings more experience than most for his age and both drivers’ nationalities open up new commercial areas for the team, with Rosenqvist likely to increase interest in the team in Europe and O’Ward appealing to IndyCar’s Mexican fanbase.
Felix Rosenqvist Patricio O'Ward IndyCar

However, no analysis of the year is complete without highlighting some of the errors and who better than Kiel, having completed the team’s post-season debrief, to outline what those are and where the team can improve?
“I think that this year was about laying the foundations,” says Kiel, who admitted the team will look to add personnel in the off-season if the correct hires become available.
“The focus was on the integration of the people [from 2019] and broadly defining roles and responsibilities. I think next year, a big focus is on detailing those roles and responsibilities, further opening up lines of communication, making the circle a bit bigger.
“A big push from my side is trust. It’s trusting the UK group to do their job and it’s the UK group trusting the US group to do their jobs. Trust is a big factor and I think that comes with building any team but in this particular situation with the ways that we’re working currently. That’s a big factor.”
Ntt Indycar Series Firestone Grand Prix Of St Petersburg

Kiel picks out “missed opportunities” – like a pit error at Texas which dropped O’Ward out of the top 10 and a qualifying handling issue that ruined a shot at a Road America double pole.
He adds: “That’s my job, right? It’s to identify where our weaknesses are and improve on those. When I look back on the season I look at missed opportunities.

An eyewitness account of Mansell’s McLaren disaster
Read more



“There’s just these moments throughout the year where it’s a missed opportunity here or there because of ‘what’. That’s our job now, let’s go back one by one, analyse those situations and and fix them.
“And we’ve done that process, so I’m confident that we will go into next year better prepared and in a better position to make better decisions in the moment, which is good.”
Ultimately all the upheaval and the enormous pressure of adding the McLaren name to the team could have created a directionless and slow-to-react beast condemned to the bottom of the IndyCar table.
Instead – even though the team has botched key moments at times during the season – it has ultimately found a way to incorporate its new personnel and have them work together in the most difficult of circumstances to create what has been a team on the precipice of the series’ top echelon.
Oliver Askew Scott Dixon IndyCar

Its resources in terms of some of the minds it has at its disposal means it has every right to be fighting at the top of the order, and now all the ingredients are there to deliver on that.
The strong 2020 season has only increased the pressure on success in 2021, and Kiel’s targets are lofty, but if it can further harness the level of personnel onboard and tie it all together, it should be on to a winner.
The fact it delivered four podiums and fourth in the championship for O’Ward shows the potential is there despite the adversity it faced.
Next season there will be fewer reasons to explain a lack of form if indeed the team doesn’t take a leap forward – given the resources at its disposal and the lessons learned from 2020.
So all eyes will be on how the SPM-McLaren relationship works in 2021 and if ironing out those errors is what it takes to fight for a title. After all, you have to be perfect to challenge a Josef Newgarden or a Dixon.
 

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THE-RACE

INSIDE McLAREN’S FIRST INDYCAR SEASON: WAS IT GOOD ENOUGH?

By Jack Benyon

When a brand like McLaren enters an elite motorsport championship, people expect instant success. In 2020, its ‘new’ IndyCar operation failed to win a race but took a strong fourth in the championship with a near-rookie driver.

So just how successful was Arrow McLaren SP’s IndyCar ‘debut’?

It was late in 2019 that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and McLaren announced its joint IndyCar plan. Of course, McLaren had entered the Indianapolis 500 with Fernando Alonso in a 2017 alliance with Andretti Autosport and followed that up with the ill-fated 2019 solo bid, but this news marked McLaren’s first foray into full-time North American competition in decades.

While the team did fail to score a victory – something it had been able to do as SPM as recently as 2018 – Patricio O’Ward spent a long period in third in the championship before dropping back to fourth due to a late surge from Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta.

Ntt Indycar Series Honda Indy 200 At Mid Ohio


On the face of it, 2020 should have been the perfect year for the underdog with the aeroscreen being added to the car. It increased the centre of gravity and weight over the front wheels, leading to a set-up nightmare for the teams, which had to factor in underlying understeer induced by the new device.

There was a chance that adapting to that would mix up the order and throw the big three – Andretti, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Team Penske – off course, but the COVID-19 pandemic added a fresh layer of complication for Arrow McLaren SP’s efforts.

After all, it had added a bevvy of new staff to support its new venture – though the existing team remained mostly in place – and it wasn’t just personnel that changed, but the whole way of working.

Like the McLaren F1 team, AMSP now has a team ‘back at base’ during race weekends as well as between races. A small group of technical personnel based at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking process data and communicate live with the team in the US to get the best out of the machinery at hand every session.

Mclaren Technology Centre Exterior, Aerial View


It’s a new venture in IndyCar and a totally new way of working; learning how to process that data, who is responsible for elements of communication, how decisions are made based on the leadership structure and information provided and so on. All that coming with the asterisk that – although engineering principles don’t change – most of the staff embedded with McLaren in Indianapolis and Woking had little or no oval or series experience.

The pandemic only fed the uncertainty over how all of that worked, with time in the factory reduced due to a lockdown before the season finally got underway in June, and as the season progressed condensed weekends meant less time for the team to be effective in reading and interpreting data because of reduced track time over the race event.
Even the existing SPM element of the team had a new set of parameters to work with, not only with the addition of the aeroscreen on the cars it admittedly knew well by now, but also via a switch to Chevrolet power from Honda (which had gone through a painful three years with McLaren in F1).
All of those factors meant predicting how good Arrow McLaren SP would be was a lottery. If it struck lucky on a set-up, maybe it would impress but fail to match that with consistency due to its new work methods. If it didn’t find that sweet spot and the team’s upheaval fed poor communication, it could have been a hot mess.
Luckily for the team, it was probably better than it could have hoped for given the external pandemic factors at play.
Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Gateway IndyCar 2020'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Gateway IndyCar 2020

“I think from a general perspective, we’re very happy with how things went,” Arrow McLaren SP managing director Taylor Kiel tells The Race in an exclusive post-season interview.
“When you onboard a programme like McLaren, there’s a lot to get through, there’s a long checklist of items that you want to accomplish from the perspective of ways of working procedurally.
“But most importantly it’s integrating the people, which is a difficult proposition when you’ve got a group working in the UK and a group working in the US on Eastern Time [five hours behind].
“It all seems very basic, but in the middle of a race season that just so happens to fall in the middle of a global pandemic, it was a lot of work.
Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar 2020

“But I think we can look back on it and feel good about the success that we had this year, both on track but also with integration of both teams.
“We had a goal to form a strategic partnership and improve in many areas across the team and I think we can say that we did that.
“Are we there yet? No, we’re not at the finish line and we never will be. So it’s a constant review process and it’s constant improvement. So, yes, happy with where we got this year but excited to see where we can get next year.”
Both the existing team in place (including previous SPM employee Kiel) and McLaren had a feeling about how it wanted that relationship to work, and when you employ top-quality people within those roles, things are likely to go well.
Perhaps the lowest-key of all the signings was Andrew Jarvis, Lando Norris’s 2019 race engineer at McLaren, perhaps most famous for the phrase ‘me shoes’, or the helmet Norris gave him in their last race together. Both are worth a Google.
Lando Norris Andrew Jarvis McLaren

It just so happened Jarvis was looking to move to the States regardless of the IndyCar programme, as his wife is from there. Gil de Ferran – the chief of the McLaren side of the operation and another brilliant albeit more obvious big-name hire – snapped him up immediately.
“My main role when I’m at the track is being a conduit between McLaren and the IndyCar side,” Jarvis tells The Race in an exclusive chat with us after his first full season embedded with the team, albeit working remotely on non-race weekends from San Francisco.
“We are obviously one team, but there is some learning that we need to do, particularly on McLaren’s side from how to go IndyCar racing. And that has been my main role.
“So my weekends are basically trying to learn – very much this year being the first year and with the shortened weekends – from the IndyCar engineers: ‘How do you set-up the car? Why have you made this decision? Why have you changed the camber like this?’
“But on top of that it is to try and bring some expertise from the F1 side.
Carlos Sainz, Mclaren Mcl35 F1

“Through the sessions, I’m not necessarily operational. I’ll watch the data and I’ll comment on it and I’ll tell the race engineer that maybe he needs to think about this in this corner.
“And then, between sessions, I’m looking again at the drivers’ data and the set-up data as well, saying, well, maybe we should consider this because of this and that. Kind of a more consultancy role rather than the operation part.”

Imagine running an IndyCar team and being able to bring in a bright, motivated, F1-successful race engineer and just have them there, purely interpreting data to get the most out of the driver? It’s an incredible resource to have and there are less obvious but similar roles scattered through the team that bring F1 quality to the IndyCar environment.
It’s not that IndyCar is sub-par compared to F1, and Jarvis stressed that there’s a lot of learning being done by McLaren as well as vice-versa. But that fresh input from people who have reached the pinnacle of the sport can only help it improve on the Stateside element of the equation, even if the series is a different challenge to F1 with a spec chassis.
On track, O’Ward scored 10 top-10 finishes across 14 races in 2020, with three-second places. On all three of those occasions he was just slightly outdone by the competition, with Road America the real disappointment as his tyres just disappeared while Felix Rosenqvist was able to keep his alive on his Ganassi-run car to take a late victory.
Fernando Alonso Indy 500

The Indianapolis 500 was the event that raised the most attention on the programme due to the size of the event and the addition of Fernando Alonso, with Jarvis as his performance engineer and Craig Hampson playing a key role.

Unfortunately for them, after Alonso crashed in practice, a handling problem in the race potentially caused by that crash and a clutch issue added up to a disappointing result.
The fact that Chevrolet appeared to lack the power of the Honda entries was relevant, but also O’Ward was able to shine and finished as the event’s top rookie in sixth – showing more where the team’s ultimate pace could be.
Sadly it was here that the well-liked rookie Oliver Askew’s season fell apart. He crashed heavily in the 500 and in the rounds afterwards he competed while suffering the effects of concussion, not seeking help for another five races.
Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP

The crash came just after the reigning Indy Lights champion’s podium at Iowa and a top-six finish in the second race of that double header but his results, performance and career plummeted in the aftermath.

The timing of the decision to oust Askew was as poor as it gets given his concussion had not long since become public knowledge, but the team had clearly already decided to go in a different direction earlier on, securing Rosenqvist’s services for 2021.
While Arrow McLaren SP perhaps gave up on Askew too quickly, signing Rosenqvist for any team will always make sense.
A lot was made of the younger partnership of O’Ward – just eight races into his IndyCar career – and rookie Askew being like McLaren’s F1 line-up of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr. The youthful and fun demeanour outside of the car has been extremely attractive to the F1 squad’s marketing, and it has stayed true to that for 2021 by signing Daniel Ricciardo to replace the Ferrari-bound Sainz.
Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren F1

Perhaps that’s where this year went wrong for AMSP in IndyCar – it didn’t have its Sainz. O’Ward and Askew were an incredibly inexperienced duo whereas Sainz had already experienced the ups and downs of F1, Red Bull’s cut-throat junior programme and the rejection of Renault. That led to him being one of the most underrated drivers in F1 when he arrived at McLaren in 2019, and he’s gone from strength to strength at a team that made him its leader.
That’s exactly where Rosenqvist should come in. Like Sainz, he’s always been considered a number two in IndyCar, being Scott Dixon’s understudy at Ganassi. His first season was immense but the second failed to show signs of progression.
Felix Rosenqvist

Now he is in at Arrow McLaren SP as a leader – something that Kiel expects of him – in terms of his experience, while he is still considered a lost F1 talent in Europe.
Getting back to the original question of how good the team’s season was, it’s clear to see it faced a whole load of uncertainty and delivered much better performances than it did the year before, so that’s a success.
The emergence of O’Ward is another win for the team, giving it a peaky but high-upside driver for the future who can tidy the roughness around his edges. Rosenqvist brings more experience than most for his age and both drivers’ nationalities open up new commercial areas for the team, with Rosenqvist likely to increase interest in the team in Europe and O’Ward appealing to IndyCar’s Mexican fanbase.
Felix Rosenqvist Patricio O'Ward IndyCar'Ward IndyCar

However, no analysis of the year is complete without highlighting some of the errors and who better than Kiel, having completed the team’s post-season debrief, to outline what those are and where the team can improve?
“I think that this year was about laying the foundations,” says Kiel, who admitted the team will look to add personnel in the off-season if the correct hires become available.
“The focus was on the integration of the people [from 2019] and broadly defining roles and responsibilities. I think next year, a big focus is on detailing those roles and responsibilities, further opening up lines of communication, making the circle a bit bigger.
“A big push from my side is trust. It’s trusting the UK group to do their job and it’s the UK group trusting the US group to do their jobs. Trust is a big factor and I think that comes with building any team but in this particular situation with the ways that we’re working currently. That’s a big factor.”
Ntt Indycar Series Firestone Grand Prix Of St Petersburg

Kiel picks out “missed opportunities” – like a pit error at Texas which dropped O’Ward out of the top 10 and a qualifying handling issue that ruined a shot at a Road America double pole.
He adds: “That’s my job, right? It’s to identify where our weaknesses are and improve on those. When I look back on the season I look at missed opportunities.

An eyewitness account of Mansell’s McLaren disaster
Read more



“There’s just these moments throughout the year where it’s a missed opportunity here or there because of ‘what’. That’s our job now, let’s go back one by one, analyse those situations and and fix them.
“And we’ve done that process, so I’m confident that we will go into next year better prepared and in a better position to make better decisions in the moment, which is good.”
Ultimately all the upheaval and the enormous pressure of adding the McLaren name to the team could have created a directionless and slow-to-react beast condemned to the bottom of the IndyCar table.
Instead – even though the team has botched key moments at times during the season – it has ultimately found a way to incorporate its new personnel and have them work together in the most difficult of circumstances to create what has been a team on the precipice of the series’ top echelon.
Oliver Askew Scott Dixon IndyCar

Its resources in terms of some of the minds it has at its disposal means it has every right to be fighting at the top of the order, and now all the ingredients are there to deliver on that.
The strong 2020 season has only increased the pressure on success in 2021, and Kiel’s targets are lofty, but if it can further harness the level of personnel onboard and tie it all together, it should be on to a winner.
The fact it delivered four podiums and fourth in the championship for O’Ward shows the potential is there despite the adversity it faced.
Next season there will be fewer reasons to explain a lack of form if indeed the team doesn’t take a leap forward – given the resources at its disposal and the lessons learned from 2020.
So all eyes will be on how the SPM-McLaren relationship works in 2021 and if ironing out those errors is what it takes to fight for a title. After all, you have to be perfect to challenge a Josef Newgarden or a Dixon.
The linked article on Mansell's time at McLaren is worth reading. As a driver, in his prime he was immensely skillful and brave, but as a person he was something of an ass. Mario Andretti has always said that Mansell was the worst teammate he ever had.
Over here in the UK, Mansell will often be interviewed. Even now, 25 years after his last F1 race, he is an egocentric windbag. Everything good that happened in his career was (supposedly) thanks to himself and everything not good was of course someone else's fault. What a crybaby!
I knew some guys who used to work for him at a car dealership that he owned. I won't repeat exactly what they told me he was up to, but it lowered one's opinion of the man even further.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The linked article on Mansell's time at McLaren is worth reading. As a driver, in his prime he was immensely skillful and brave, but as a person he was something of an ass. Mario Andretti has always said that Mansell was the worst teammate he ever had.
Over here in the UK, Mansell will often be interviewed. Even now, 25 years after his last F1 race, he is an egocentric windbag. Everything good that happened in his career was (supposedly) thanks to himself and everything not good was of course someone else's fault. What a crybaby!
I knew some guys who used to work for him at a car dealership that he owned. I won't repeat exactly what they told me he was up to, but it lowered one's opinion of the man even further.
Yes. We don’t get exposed to Mansell’s interviews here in USA so much. And It is difficult to forget his spectacular overtaking ....

 
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