McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown hopes to be able to confirm the second Arrow McLaren SP driver in the coming weeks following the end of the IndyCar season.
McLaren will return to IndyCar full-time next year in partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which has driver James Hinchcliffe under contract. Following Marcus Ericsson’s move to Ganassi, Arrow McLaren SP has a confirmed vacancy and RACER understands Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew is one of the names in the frame, as Brown says it is now a priority for the team to finalize its line-up.
“We’ve got to figure out who our second driver is,” Brown said. “We need to make some driver decisions. We’ve got a shortlist of drivers in negotiations and then we need to decide whether we’re going to run a third car at Indy or not.
“It’s the ones that have been reported and spoken about (for the second seat). We want to get a really good driver. Happy with Hinch; I think we need to get someone strong alongside him so they can push each other. Hopefully we’ll have something done in the next 30 days or so.
“As soon as we’re ready and we’ve got the right deal in place we want to go. We’re certainly not waiting.”
With McLaren having held an interest in Colton Herta — since confirmed at Andretti — Brown says he is happy with the options available to him even if more experienced names are already confirmed elsewhere.
“It would have been great to have put Colton in the car. Michael’s a great friend and he was already under contract to Michael so we were only going to get him if Michael released him. And I totally understand why Michael kept him. I would have done the same thing.
“I’m happy with the caliber of drivers available to us. Colton’s just a standout and is already a race winner. Young American driver, know his dad well, so I really like Colton but the ones behind him, if you like, are maybe a little less experienced but have just as much potential.”