Hinch looks forward to maple syrup, an NHL game after firing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Canada’s James Hinchcliffe said he was “shocked” to learn Arrow McLaren SP was dumping him from his 2020 seat in the IndyCar Seriesthis week.

The native of Oakville, Ont., first joined Sam Schmidt’s team in 2015 and had repeated public assurances that the final year of his contract would be honoured even after McLaren partnered with the team for next season. The team abruptly changed course and informed Hinchcliffe on Sunday evening he was not getting a car for next year.

“It goes without saying the happenings of the last 48 hours have been difficult,” Hinchcliffe wrote in a Thursday social media post. “We were shocked to learn we would not be in the No. 5 car for the 2020 season.”

Arrow McLaren will instead field cars for Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew, the most recent two Indy Lights champions. The IndyCar season ended in September and Hinchcliffe, a very popular IndyCar star, is scrambling to find a new job.

Had he been told he was not going to be retained when McLaren came aboard in late summer, Hinchcliffe might have had opportunities at other rides. The Canadian is a spokesman for Honda in North America and wanted to retain that relationship but was not going to keep his personal services agreement driving a Chevrolet for the new team.

An effort would have been made to keep Hinchcliffe with a Honda team had his management been aware Schmidt was going to let him go. Conversely, teammate Marcus Ericsson knew as soon as McLaren came aboard that he would not be retained and he landed a ride with Chip Ganassi Racing.

There are few open seats remaining in IndyCar, and almost all options would require Hinchcliffe to bring considerable funding. He remains under contract to the McLaren/Schmidt group, and the last year on his contract will be paid for the final year.

“Obviously it’s very late in the game, but my team is working flat out to try and salvage a full 2020 IndyCar campaign,” Hinchcliffe wrote.

Hinchcliffe also made reference to his IndyCar history, which includes a near fatal accident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015 followed by a pole-winning run for the Indy 500 the next season. He also failed to make the Indy 500 in 2018.

Hinchcliffe is one of IndyCar’s few crossover stars and was a runner-up on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2016. He also represents Canada in the series and remains loyal to his home country, making reference to the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs in his statement.

“Disappointment aside, I still have my health, incredible family, friends and fans supporting me, and at the end of the day, there’s not much a little maple syrup and a Leafs game can’t fix,” he said. “We’ve been kicked down before and came back stronger. This is simply our next fight.

“Challenge accepted.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Outlook not improving for beleaguered US movie theatres

Biggest chains have been open for about a month

Federal Court hears certification arguments this week in MMIW lawsuit

Diane BigEagle’s daughter Danita Faith has been missing since 2007

Anti-racism demonstration was not a ‘peaceful protest,’ as sides spar in Red Deer

Two groups that rallied in Red Deer on Sunday afternoon could only… Continue reading

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Reg Warkentin: Our schools deserve top marks

The education and development of our kids is the most important asset our province has

Chase Claypool sets Canadian NFL record with 84-yard touchdown reception

Longest touch down from scrimmage in league history by a Canadian-born player

Shapovalov loses to Schwartzman in Italian Open semifinals

Schwartzman will play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

First time Canadian show wins Emmy for best comedy series

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

The 2020 Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., will be held as a special hybrid event

New tools, ideas needed to speed up housing strategy funding, CMHC president says

Slow turnaround time on some of its national housing strategy programs

Letter containing ricin sent to White House may have come from Canada: RCMP

The letter contained ricin, a toxic substance found naturally in castor beans

Most Read