IndyCar: Arrow McLaren SP chooses O'Ward, Askew for 2020, Hinchcliffe is out
The new team on the grid, created by merging McLaren and Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, will have the youngest pair of drivers. O’Ward is 20 years old, Askew turns 23 in December. On the other side, the 32-year-old Canadian racer James Hinchcliffe, who made IndyCar debut in 2011 and spent the last five seasons with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, has lost a seat for the next season.
“With our background in Indy Lights, I’ve followed Oliver and Pato closely over the last few years on the Road to Indy. 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 on the Road to Indy and 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,” Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt said.
“As we look to establish Arrow McLaren SP and re-establish McLaren in the world of IndyCar, I’m delighted to be welcoming these two young, homegrown talents to the team. Oliver and Pato represent the new generation of IndyCar drivers. Proven winners and exciting prospects, I have no doubt that they will form an excellent pairing as we take on the 2020 season. Both drivers were super-impressive in Indy Lights, racking up 16 wins between them over the last two seasons. We have taken time and care to make a driver selection that we believe is in the best long-term interests of Arrow McLaren SP,” said Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director of McLaren Racing.
“My dream come true. The new team brings together three great partners, and it’s an honor 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. I can’t wait to get started,” Oliver Askew said.
“I couldn’t be happier to be with Arrow McLaren SP for my first full season in 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. 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,” Pato O’Ward added.
James Hinchcliffe is still under contract but the team announced that he is free to “seek and secure alternative options.” The team noted that Hinchcliffe “admirably” led the team through moments of huge adversity.
“James has been a great ambassador for our team, and for the sport, over the last five years. Our history dates back to his early days in Indy Lights, and we’ve been on a tremendous journey together. Most impressive was James’s determination to come back after his accident in 2015. I have the utmost respect for James and would like to thank him for his hard work and accomplishments during that period and wish him well in his future endeavors. We recognize that James is a fiercely motivated and determined competitor, and we won’t hesitate to release him unconditionally to secure another drive, whether in IndyCar or another series,” Sam Schmidt said.
Photos: IndyCar Series,