Today the newly formed Arrow McLaren SP team announced their two-car driver lineup for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season. Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew will both make their first full-season foray into the series. The duo represents the past two Indy Lights champions, which is great but also leaves James Hinchcliffe looking for a ride.
The team stated that Hinchcliffe is still under contract with the team, but that he is able to seek other opportunities for the upcoming season. Being ousted this late in the game though, there are not any clear open seats for the popular Canadian to pursue. Sam Schmidt did say that Robert Wickens will remain with the team as a driver coach. It is a sticky situation, that doesn’t appear to have a happy ending for James. The full press release from today is below.
[Arrow McLaren SP Press Release]
Arrow McLaren SP today announced its driver line-up for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season. 2018 Indy Lights Champion Pato O’Ward and 2019 Indy Lights Champion Oliver Askew will both compete in the full 2020 season for the newly announced entity.
“It’s a dream come true to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for my first year in IndyCar,” commented Oliver Askew, who won seven races en route to the 2019 Indy Lights title. “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.”
Arrow McLaren SP are no strangers to developing young talent into championship winners. The team, formerly known as Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, are the winningest Indy Lights team in history with seven championships and have given IndyCar opportunities to rising stars such as Simon Pagenaud and Robert Wickens in recent years.
“I couldn’t be happier to be with Arrow McLaren SP for my first full season in IndyCar,” said Pato O’Ward, who clinched the 2018 Indy Lights title with nine wins to his name. “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.”
With both Askew and O’Ward winning the Indy Lights titles in their rookie seasons, the duo has shown a great ability at adapting to new machinery and competition as they’ve climbed the ladder.
“With our background in Indy Lights, I’ve followed Oliver and Pato closely over the last few years on the Road to Indy,” said Arrow McLaren SP 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 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.”
“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,” said Gil De Ferran, Sporting Director of McLaren Racing. “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.”