McLaren signs Askew and O'Ward to IndyCar team, drops Hinchcliffe

Tom Errington
McLaren signs Askew and O'Ward, drops Hinchcliffe
McLaren signs Askew and O'Ward, drops Hinchcliffe

McLaren's IndyCar team has signed Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew and Pato O'Ward to its team in 2020, meaning there is no place for James Hinchcliffe.

It means Arrow McLaren SP has opted for a new line-up for 2020 after Marcus Ericsson opted to sign for Chip Ganassi Racing during a period of uncertainty at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

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Hinchcliffe, who had driven for SPM since 2015, is a Honda-backed driver and his future is now uncertain in IndyCar.

But for McLaren's first season in IndyCar in its new guise, it has opted to turn towards the current Lights champion in Askew and partner him with O'Ward, who endured a tumultuous 2019 season at Carlin's IndyCar squad before Red Bull backing moved him into Super Formula via a Formula 2 cameo in Austria.

"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. I can't wait to get started."

McLaren signs Askew and O'Ward, drops Hinchcliffe
McLaren signs Askew and O'Ward, drops Hinchcliffe


O'Ward, who is no longer a Red Bull junior, added: "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."

Arrow McLaren SP said in a statement that Hinchcliffe "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".

"James has been a great ambassador for our team, and for the sport, over the last five years," said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner, Sam Schmidt.

"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 endeavours."

McLaren Racing's sporting director Gil de Ferran 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."

McLaren signs Askew and O'Ward, drops Hinchcliffe
McLaren signs Askew and O'Ward, drops Hinchcliffe

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