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Who should replace David Malukas at Arrow McLaren?

Arrow McLaren shocked the world by releasing the injured David Malukas from his contract. The team needs to find a new driver to finish the rest of the 2024 IndyCar Series season. Will the team disprove the skepticism among IndyCar fans?

While social media is still debating if this decision is right or not. The decision has been made, and Arrow McLaren will need to find a new driver. What options does McLaren have in the current driver market?

1. Callum Ilott

At first glance Ilott appears to be the best option for Arrow McLaren. The former Juncos driver is out of a seat and already replaced Malukas in St. Pete. Respectively finishing in eleventh place. Ilott impressed in his first couple of seasons in IndyCar, but was still dropped by Juncos in favor of Agustin Canapino and Romain Grosjean for the 2024 season. This was commonly seen as a political move rather than a sporting choice. Canapino and Ilott did not get along well and Juncos has some big Argentinian sponsors.

The Englishman saw Theo Pourchaire fill in for Malukas in Long Beach and Barber. However, Ilott has proved to be a competent driver on both ovals and road courses. Which in my opinion makes him the best pick.

2. Theo Pourchaire

Long Beach, CA – during the INDYCAR Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Travis Hinkle | IMS Photo)

The aforementioned Pourchaire is certainly an interesting case. Arrow McLaren surprised everyone by selecting Pourchaire as the replacement for Malukas. In Long Beach the Formula 2 champion did a solid job on his debut delivering an eleventh place. His junior series track record makes him a good prospect. However, the Frenchman appears to be unlucky in his timing for a Formula 1 seat.

At the Grand Prix of Alabama Pourchaire struggled as did the entire Arrow McLaren squad. He finished a team best twenty-second after 90 laps. Despite the chaotic nature of both Long Beach and Barber Motorsports Park. It does speak in the 20-year-old’s favor that he stayed out of trouble whereas his teammates had a lot of problems. If Pourchaire does get to drive the full season from now on, he would need to learn racing on ovals. It’s been proven time and time again that racing on ovals is a complete different discipline.

3. Conor Daly

2024 – Indianapolis 500- Testing

Now to a name that has been the go-to replacement driver for several teams since his tenure at Ed Carpenter Racing came to an end. Most notably he replaced the injured Simon Pagenaud last year. Daly is an experienced IndyCar driver who knows what’s asked of him. However, the Indiana native is listed for the Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Indy 500 entry alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay. That would mean Arrow McLaren would have to strike a deal to make it happen. In the world of motorsport there is nothing that a bit of money can’t solve.

4. Simon Pagenaud

The 2019 Indy 500 Champion hasn’t raced IndyCar since his massive airborne accident during practice for the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. Despite being replaced at Meyer Shank Racing by Felix Rosenqvist he recently stated his wishes to return to the IndyCar Series. Perhaps he could be an option for Arrow McLaren in this unique situation. The 2016 IndyCar Series Champion has a wealth of experience and an impressive trophy cabinet to boot. Most likely, the guys in orange will want a driver who is fit and has raced recently and Pagenaud would not fit this bill. However, if they want an experienced IndyCar veteran who could see them through the season. This would be a good option.

Double driver solution

Another way Arrow McLaren could solve this riddle is by selecting two drivers. One who will do the road and street courses and another who will do the ovals. Several teams have done this in the past. Chip Ganassi Racing did it with Marcus Armstrong and Takuma Sato just last season. In this scenario perhaps Theo Pourchaire would compete in the road and street courses while his fellow countrymen Simon Pagenaud does ovals. This would give Pourchaire an experienced mentor who could teach him the tips and tricks to IndyCar racing while he gets familiar with the series.

Whatever Arrow McLaren decides it will take some time for skepticism to be taken away. Malukas is a fan favorite and sadly will need to find a new seat once he is fully healed from his injury.


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