IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
43 days
23 Apr
Next event in
50 days
R
Texas
30 Apr
Next event in
57 days
R
Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 1
14 May
Next event in
71 days
28 May
Next event in
85 days
R
Detroit
11 Jun
Next event in
99 days
R
Road America
18 Jun
Next event in
106 days
R
Mid-Ohio
02 Jul
Next event in
120 days
R
Toronto
09 Jul
Next event in
127 days
06 Aug
Next event in
155 days
R
Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 2
13 Aug
Next event in
162 days
R
Gateway
20 Aug
Next event in
169 days
R
Portland
10 Sep
Next event in
190 days
R
Laguna Seca
17 Sep
Next event in
197 days
R
Long Beach
24 Sep
Next event in
204 days

Hinchcliffe staying with Arrow McLaren SP for 2020

James Hinchcliffe will remain with the Sam Schmidt-Ric Peterson owned IndyCar team he has made his home since 2015, despite the team’s switch to Chevrolet power for 2020 and his own ties with Honda.

Hinchcliffe staying with Arrow McLaren SP for 2020

Although well-placed sources suggested American Honda and Honda Canada would buy Hinchcliffe out of the last year of his current contract with Arrow SPM in order to help ‘place’ him with an HPD-powered squad, Sam Schmidt confirmed to Motorsport.com that the 32-year-old Canadian star is staying put when the team joins forces with McLaren for 2020.

Hinchcliffe has scored three wins with the team, including the prestigious Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2017, and his only career pole position came with the team at the 2016 Indy 500.

“We’re very pleased James is staying, absolutely,” Schmidt said, “although I’m not sure why there was all that speculation. I mean, yes, it was unfortunate that we had to change engine supplier – unfortunate for us, unfortunate for him – but we had to make a change in order to join forces with McLaren, and the pros far exceeded the cons there.

“James had a year left on his contract with us, and as I’ve told you before, I always wanted the continuity of going into next season with at least one established driver with measurable experience and talent and wins under his belt. So there was willingness on both sides to continue as per our contract.”

Schmidt said that the question over who will drive the #7 Arrow McLaren SP car in 2020 remains “wide open.”

Marcus Ericsson, the ex-Formula 1 driver who joined Arrow SPM at the start of this season, has remained a ‘third driver’ for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team, and in that capacity he was called to Spa-Francorchamps this weekend to be on standby should Kimi Raikkonen’s pulled muscle have prevented him from driving in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Ericsson’s last-minute replacement this weekend is Conor Daly, who despite having never even driven the Portland International Raceway on a simulator, has performed superbly. The popular Noblesville, IN. native and crowd favorite whittled down his pace deficit to Hinchcliffe throughout practice, culminating in him qualifying just 0.02sec and one place behind his friend and teammate.

Schmidt, talking before Daly’s strong qualifying run, said that Hinchcliffe’s confirmed presence in the squad eased the pressure on who to pick as his teammate.

“James staying on allows us to run another veteran if the right opportunity comes up, or a pure rookie if it’s the right one,” he said. “Obviously you’d like to pick up a driver with some level of experience who has shown promise but honestly it’s wide open for that second seat right now.”

Asked if one of those contenders for the #7 seat included current incumbent Ericsson – and whether the Swede will return for the IndyCar season finale – Schmidt replied, “Absolutely he’s a contender, and yes, Marcus will be back with us for Laguna Seca.

“I don’t know for real what’s going on over there [with Alfa in Belgium], because I was told Raikkonen was totally out for this weekend, that’s why they needed Marcus, and then he gets over there and he doesn’t get an opportunity.

"He’s pretty pissed, because he wanted to be here, and he’s been driving well lately, so we were disappointed too. But we wanted to do them a favor, and it’s no big deal – he’s only 17th in points, and we wanted to be nice.

“But yes, Marcus is absolutely in the mix for the #7 car next year because I think he could do amazingly well with a season of experience. What he’s done in the races [as opposed to qualifying] has been fantastic and he’s only gotten to test at three places and he’s been strong in those three places. Sure there have been mistakes, but the speed is there, so there are many, many upsides to keeping him on.”

On the subject of whether new partners McLaren would be happy with a Hinchcliffe-Ericsson lineup, Schmidt replied: “Yes – and that’s another thing that seems to have gotten lost or out of control in the media since the McLaren announcement.

"There’s no equity ownership; Ric and I own the team 100 percent. Thank God Arrow were able to look at the big picture because they had exclusive naming rights, but they agreed to step aside and share those naming rights which was a huge first step.

“And it wasn’t just the money, although that’s a consideration. But they’re going to show up with four or five car [sponsor] placements – places we possibly could have sold ourselves – but it’s just easier dealing with one person instead of five.

“The big thing is that we want to win, and with the extra resources and technical capability, we will have a better edge.”

Arrow SPM tested reigning IMSA Prototype champion and ex-F1 driver Felipe Nasr at Mid-Ohio last month, but another potential contender for the second seat – Nicholas Latifi whose father owns a stake in McLaren – appears to be aiming for an F1 ride with Williams

shares
comments
Portland IndyCar: Herta beats Power to pole, Newgarden slips up

Previous article

Portland IndyCar: Herta beats Power to pole, Newgarden slips up

Next article

IndyCar reveals 2020 schedule – Richmond in, Pocono out

IndyCar reveals 2020 schedule – Richmond in, Pocono out
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers James Hinchcliffe
Teams McLaren , Arrow McLaren SP , Arrow SPM
Author David Malsher-Lopez
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car? Prime

Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car?

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indy car game-changer that won three Indy 500s in six years.

IndyCar
Dec 23, 2020
How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost Prime

How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost

Josef Newgarden was our pick as top IndyCar driver of 2020 but his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield the championship. David Malsher-Lopez explains why.

IndyCar
Dec 18, 2020
2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year Prime

2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year

David Malsher-Lopez explains how the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series was unlike any other, and why it featured familiar and unfamiliar faces competing for glory.

IndyCar
Nov 27, 2020
How Dixon won his sixth IndyCar title, in his own words Prime

How Dixon won his sixth IndyCar title, in his own words

Chip Ganassi Racing’s newly crowned six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon takes us round by round through his remarkable season. David Malsher-Lopez listens.

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2020