O’Ward on dumping IndyCar ride: “I have done what I had to do”

Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward says he is “talking to all the teams he can” after his eleventh-hour split from the Harding Steinbrenner Racing-Honda team left him without a ride on the eve of IndyCar Spring Training.

O’Ward on dumping IndyCar ride: “I have done what I had to do”

O’Ward’s $1m prize for winning the Indy Lights championship comprises three IndyCar rides including the Indianapolis 500, but following the announcement that he and Andretti Autosport Indy Lights teammate Colton Herta would become fulltime teammates in the Mike Harding-George Steinbrenner IV-owned team, this has proven to be inaccurate.

The switch from Chevrolet to Honda power suggested a closer alliance with Andretti Autosport, with whom Herta’s father co-owns the #98 car of Marco Andretti, and whose personnel made the Harding cars startlingly fast at Sonoma last year. O’Ward qualified in the top six and finished in the top 10 on his IndyCar debut.

However, it has transpired that the switch to Honda also involved not two fulltime engine leases, but one fulltime engine lease for Herta and one part-time lease for O’Ward, to cover the Indy 500 plus at least two other races.

Today, O’Ward announced that he had split from the team.

He told Motorsport.com: “The problem is that the season is about to begin. I do not know what will happen. Right now I am trying to stay positive, that things will go well, but it is difficult, because there is no time anymore; there are teams that do not have extra cars.

"The point is to go out and do a good job, not go out and get pity. Let's see. But I'm very disappointed with the situation. I do not win anything stressing, I have to keep calm and keep talking to all the teams I can.”

O’Ward suggested that the lack of accurate information from the team, not the lack of money, was the most disappointing aspect of the situation.

"What moves the races is money,” he said. “You cannot get angry with someone if they do not have it. What saddened me the most was that if I continued to trust them I would have ended up in the dumpster.

"I was not expecting this. I've always known that this is a political sport and that's the only thing I can say. If there is only enough backing one person, they will go with the one that suits them. They will not go with the one who signed the paper and who was promised a full season.

"I did well in Sonoma, I won the Indy Lights championship. I have done what I had to do."

O’Ward’s most obvious option appears to be Juncos Racing, which has only confirmed Kyle Kaiser for the second round, at Circuit of The Americas.

Carlin would be another potential option, given that Charlie Kimball is only going to compete in five races and RC Enerson is not expected to run the #23 entry in all 12 of the remaining rounds. However, Kimball has confirmed the Indy 500 is one of his five, alongside Max Chilton, and Enerson is also likely to run that race.

The likelihood of Carlin – in only its second year at this level – being able to run four cars including one for O’Ward, is regarded as remote.

shares
comments
O’Ward splits from Harding Steinbrenner Racing

Previous article

O’Ward splits from Harding Steinbrenner Racing

Next article

Dixon had a “breakthrough” in 2018 but is still learning

Dixon had a “breakthrough” in 2018 but is still learning
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Patricio O'Ward
Teams Harding Racing
Author David Malsher-Lopez
Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call Prime

Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call

The fight for supremacy in the NTT IndyCar Series will be as intense as ever. David Malsher-Lopez is your guide to the main contenders and six intriguing sub-plots.

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
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