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
Ericsson: Consistency in an IndyCar is “biggest issue”

Previous article

Ericsson: Consistency in an IndyCar is “biggest issue”

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
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021
Colton Herta – America's next racing hero Prime

Colton Herta – America's next racing hero

Last Sunday, Colton Herta demolished his IndyCar opposition in the second round of the season. David Malsher-Lopez explains why Andretti Autosport’s youngest ace bears all the hallmarks of becoming the country’s next homegrown motorsport hero.

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival? Prime

How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
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