(Reuters) – Arrow McLaren SP said on Wednesday the last two Indy Lights champions, Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew, will make up its driver lineup for the 2020 season while James Hinchcliffe will cease racing for the team.
American Askew won seven races en route to the 2019 Indy Lights title while Mexican O’Ward clinched the 2018 crown with nine wins to his name. Indy Lights is the third and final step on the developmental ladder leading to the IndyCar Series.
“They are ready and deserving of full-time seats in IndyCar,” Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt said in a statement. “I have no doubt that Oliver and Pato are the right drivers to move Arrow McLaren SP forward.”
McLaren is returning to full-time IndyCar racing next year as part of a partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chevrolet that was announced in August.
Prior to announcing its driver lineup Arrow McLaren SP said in a separate statement that Canadian Hinchcliffe, who had earned three wins since coming on board ahead of the 2015 season, had concluded his duties with the team.
Hinchcliffe remains under contract with Arrow McLaren SP but is free to seek and secure alternative options.
“We recognise that James is a fiercely motivated and determined competitor, and we won’t hesitate to release him unconditionally to secure another drive, whether in IndyCar or another series,” said Schmidt.
The 2020 season begins on March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)