McLaren is partnering with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for a full- time return to IndyCar competitors next season that consists of a switch from Honda to Chevrolet, raising concerns about Honda- sponsored Arrow chauffeur James Hinchcliffe.
The brand-new two-car group will be relabelled Arrow McLaren Racing SP and count on Arrow SPM’s existing facilities. Arrow presently fields cars and trucks for Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson, however Hinchcliffe is a longtime Honda ambassador and star of advertisements for the car manufacturer in North America.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown stated Ericsson is under a 1 year agreement that will be evaluated however responded to “yes” when asked if Hinchcliffe is anticipated to drive for the group next year.
“Hinch is under contract and we think he’s an excellent racing driver who has won lots of races and he does have big ties to Honda,” Brown stated. “From our point of view, we are very happy to continue to have Hinch, and that’s kind of the state of play.”
Hinchcliffe likewise tweeted about Friday’s statement, stating it is a “dream come true” to drive for a McLaren group and including that his relationship with Honda will be dealt with when the “time is right.”
— James Hinchcliffe (@Hinchtown) August 9, 2019
All 7 of Schmidt’s IndyCar success were powered by Honda, which assisted the group win 2 Indianapolis 500 poles. McLaren had an unsightly split in Formula One with Honda, and the engine maker is not prepared to work with the group at this point.
Honda Performance Development stated in a declaration Friday “although we regret that this partnership will be coming to an end … HPD has the utmost confidence in the strength and commitment of its remaining partner teams.”
Arrow Electronics will stay the group’s title partner, and group co-founders Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson will continue in their existing management functions. Gil de Ferran, the sporting director for McLaren Racing, will lead the IndyCar effort for McLaren individually from the Formula One effort.
“I’m extremely proud of the team that Ric and I have built and that a legendary brand like McLaren Racing has decided to partner with us,” Schmidt stated. “Arrow is a tremendous partner which has been integral to our growth as a team since 2015 and to the creation of this new partnership. The combined technical resources and commercial opportunities both McLaren and Arrow bring to the table provide a winning combination.”
McLaren, which will be accountable for technical competence, industrial experience and marketing on the brand-new group, is coming off an amazing humiliation in which it stopped working to receive the Indianapolis 500 in May with popular two-time Formula One champ Fernando Alonso.
The group partnered with Andretti Autosport in 2017 on an Indy 500 effort for Alonso however took the next season off. Its return to Indy in 2015 was as a standalone group, however McLaren was ill-prepared and Alonso missed out on the race.
Alonso does not appear to be intrigued in a full- time IndyCar flight in 2020, however Brown has actually suggested the brand-new group will field a 3rd cars and truck for the Indianapolis500 Alonso would likely have an alternative to drive that entry.
“IndyCar has been part of McLaren since our early years of racing, and the series today provides not only a commercial platform to continue to grow our brand in North America but competition with some of the best teams in international motorsport,” Brown stated. “We come to IndyCar in full regard of the sport, our rivals, the fans and the job ahead.
” At our core, we at McLaren are racers, and where there’s competitors that puts us to the test, we will race.”
Brown stated Alonso will meet McLaren at the Italian Grand Prix next month which the Indy 500 will be on the program.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.