Oliver Askew and Arrow McLaren SP will part ways after the October 25 season finale at St. Petersburg. If the reigning Indy Lights champion is cleared by the NTT IndyCar Series medical team, he will return to the seat recently filled by Helio Castroneves to drive for AMSP in a home state farewell.
“We believe that Oliver has a great deal of talent and potential for the future. He has had an incredibly difficult rookie year, with a lack of overall track time and recent medical issues,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt. “We want to give Oliver the time to pursue new opportunities for 2021 and the ability to race at St Pete. Come the end of the year, we will wish Oliver the very best in all of his future endeavors and he will always be a friend of the team.”
The talented Floridian experienced a promising start to his rookie season in the No. 7 Chevy, earning ninth on his debut at Texas, and adding a third and a sixth at Iowa. A pair of hard crashes at Indianapolis – on the road course in July, and at the Indy 500 in August – appeared to leave the 23-year-old with lingering concussion-like effects that resulted in a downturn in results.
Following another uncharacteristically poor outing at the mid-September Mid-Ohio doubleheader, Askew sought independent medical advisement, and with IndyCar’s medical staff inserted into the matter, he was not cleared to drive at the recent Harvest Grand Prix on the IMS road course. Three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves was drafted in to substitute for Askew, and while the Brazilian’s finishing positions were unremarkable, the team is known to have been pleased with his overall contributions.
“It’s been a steep learning curve this year but I appreciate all of the experience I have gotten with Arrow McLaren SP,” said Askew. “I’ve certainly had to develop very quickly as a driver, and I know I have shown my speed and capability when able to this season. However, I think it makes sense to pursue the next chapter of my career outside the team.
“I am grateful for all the support I’ve received from my crew, the team and all the fans. I wish the entire team well in the future.”
Although no reason for the split was cited, it’s believed an interview featuring quotes from Askew’s management team, which questioned the team’s commitment to Askew’s well-being and caused embarrassment for both AMSP and IndyCar, did little to help the situation.
AMSP did not nominate a replacement driver for Askew if he is not cleared for St. Pete, nor did it indicate when a full-time replacement will be named ahead of the 2021 championship.