Harding Steinbrenner Racing IndyCar rookie Colton Herta says today’s exit of his former Indy Lights teammate Patricio O’Ward, while surprising, hasn’t shaken his confidence in the team.
“I didn’t find out about it [O’Ward’s departure] until I saw it on Twitter, and the news came as a bit of a shock to me,” admitted Herta in Austin ahead of this week’s Spring Training IndyCar test sessions at nearby Circuit of The Americas. “I haven’t been told by the team yet because I’ve been busy doing this [media day] stuff so I’m not sure if it’s 100 percent true or anything, but I know there were discussions about getting a full year in for him and I’m not sure what happened.
“It’s a shame for him. He’s a good driver; he’ll find something. I know he will. He’s going to be in the sport for a long time.”
Indy Lights graduate Herta admitted that the prospect of going solo at Harding Steinbrenner this season is a little daunting, but he expects the team’s partnership with Andretti Autosport to soften the blow.
“It’s tough. It was nice having him [O’Ward] as a teammate last year. We pushed each other a lot in Indy Lights — I think we made the car a lot better for Andretti, and we bettered ourselves as well,” he said. “And it was always close — whenever I was on pole he was right there behind me; when he was on pole, I was right there behind him. So it was a close year, it bettered both of us, and it’s going to be tough not to have that pushing competition. But I’m sure I can get that from the Andretti guys as well.”