Arrow McLaren has one of the most interesting lineups for 2024 in O’Ward, Rossi, and Malukas. Let’s explore this lineup’s potential.
McLaren has made a name for themselves in the NTT IndyCar Series. They have won races and been in contention to take the ultimate crown, the Indianapolis 500. For the 2024 season, their driver lineup has changed.
Pato O’Ward: Ironing Out the Kinks
O’Ward is arguably the most popular driver in IndyCar at the moment. His speed, talent, and entertaining personality have won the hearts of fans and the motorsport world alike.
During his career with Arrow McLaren, Pato has found a great footing. He has won races, and poles, and has even been in contention to win the Indy 500. In 2021 O’Ward was also one of the title contenders.
The 24-year-old has proven that he can win races. The problem is that he has yet to compete with Penske and Ganassi consistently. This is due in part to the aggressive nature of his driving. That aggression is a valuable tool and part of his speed, but it also cost him multiple times.
For example, during the 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, he took out his Scott Dixon with a reckless overtake attempt. He also found the barriers on his own during the Detroit GP.
For 2024, if O’Ward wants to consistently challenge the top 2 he will need to exercise more patience. He has always had the speed, but if he fine-tunes the aggression, he can surely be McLaren’s number 1 challenger.
Alexander Rossi: The Pressure is on
Alexander Rossi’s stint at Arrow McLaren has been an interesting one. The Californian had been a Honda driver for all of his career until joining the team in 2023.
His 2023 campaign for the papaya team was pretty anonymous. He finished 9th in the championship scoring a total of 375 points.
It was not a bad season by any measure, but it wasn’t exactly highlight-worthy. He scored 6 top-five finishes but also had some pretty bad luck. Rossi also had a quiet but excellent 2023 Indianapolis 500, finishing fifth.
For 2024 though, the pressure is on. He’s had a year to adjust to his Chevrolet-powered McLaren and needs to put some podiums and wins on the table.
David Malukas: The test begins
David Malukas is quickly becoming a fan favorite in IndyCar. The former Dale-Coyne driver is one of, if not the most entertaining social media personalities in motorsports. The Chicago native has become a “meme king,” often posting about his life/the racing season in the form of well-crafted memes.
During his time with DCR, he scored two podiums at Gateway. However, outside those podiums, the DCR car was nowhere competitive enough to compete.
Fast-forward to the end of the 2023 season, and Malukas signed with McLaren. It’s a tremendous opportunity for him, one that many suspected would happen.
Can’t wait to be racing with Arrow McLaren!
WE ARE PAPAYA🧡 pic.twitter.com/T4Dowlz6Kr
— David Malukas (@malukasdavid) September 8, 2023
The thing is, because of the regularly uncompetitive nature of his DCR machine, there wasn’t any pressure. Now with a car that can compete for wins, poles, and podiums, Malukas will need to deliver consistently. This will be a huge and career-defining year for him.
In the running order of IndyCar, McLaren has been so close the last couple of years. They are more consistent than Andretti but still not quite enough to fully compete with Penske/Ganassi.
During the 2023 season, Arrow McLaren didn’t win any races while their closest rivals Andretti won two. For 2024, both they and their drivers need to step up their game.