INDIANAPOLIS – Popular NTT IndyCar Series star James Hinchcliffe has released his first public comments since the announcement that he would not be retained by Arrow McLaren SP for the 2020 season.
The announcement of Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew’s signings with the team for the upcoming NTT IndyCar Series season left Hinchcliffe on the outside looking in, with limited options to try and secure another ride going into the winter months.
Two potential possibilities would be a third car at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing or the second car at Dale Coyne Racing alongside Sebastien Bourdais.
Both Bobby Rahal and Dale Coyne told NBC Sports they have interest in Hinchcliffe, but Rahal noted that “while we would love to have James at some level, we don’t have the money at this point,” and Coyne added the he expects to re-sign Santino Ferrucci to race alongside Bourdais for next season, which would likely scuttle Hinchcliffe moving to DCR.
Hinchcliffe was quick to point out his surprise at losing his ride for next season, but vowed to fight back in hopes of still securing a place on the Indy car grid.
“It goes without saying that the happenings of the last 48 hours have been difficult. We were shocked to learn that we would not be in the No. 5 car for the 2020 season,” Hinchcliffe noted. “Obviously it’s very late in the game, but my team is working flat out to try and salvage a full 2020 IndyCar campaign.
“The support of the motorsports community has been overwhelming and is endlessly appreciated. We only get to do what we do because of the fans, and your passion is amazing,” Hinchcliffe added. “Disappointment aside, I still have my health, incredible family, friends and fans supporting me, and at the end of the day there’s not there’s not much a little maple syrup and a Leafs game can’t fix.
“We’ve been kicked down before and came back stronger. This is simply our next fight.”
Hinchcliffe remains under contract to Arrow McLaren SP, but is free to pursue other driving options for 2020.
This isn’t the first time that Hinchcliffe has had to battle back from adversity. In 2015, he nearly lost his life in a practice crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during preparations for the Indianapolis 500, sustaining serious injuries that required nearly a year of recovery.
Hinchcliffe came back to earn the Indianapolis 500 pole position the next season.
The 32-year-old Canadian failed to qualify for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 2018, but rebounded to win at Iowa Speedway later in the year.
Hinchcliffe finished a disappointing 12th in the standings this year, with only a single podium finish to his credit and eight finishes outside the top 10 in 17 races.