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
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
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