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Why did Arrow McLaren release David Malukas?

This morning Arrow McLaren announced the release of David Malukas. The 22-year-old was sidelined with a wrist injury, however he had just signed a multi-year deal with the team.

The IndyCar news cycle just doesn’t let up this season. Just after a thrilling Grand Prix of Alabama Arrow McLaren released David Malukas from his multi-year contract. Unfortunately for the 22-year-old his McLaren tenure ends before ever driving a yard in orange.

In a statement on the website McLaren states:

“Arrow McLaren today announced that the team has released David Malukas for the remainder of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season due to him being unavailable for the entirety of the season to date, with no confirmed return date, as a result of a left wrist injury, which occurred February 11, in a mountain biking incident.”

Malukas himself also released a statement in which he says:

“I’ve done everything possible to speed up the rehab process—treatments, physiotherapy, strength training—but my recovery has taken longer than anticipated. Every injury is different, and every body heals at a different pace. I’ll turn my full attention to getting back to 100 percent and then prove that I am ready and able to compete to win.”

Why couldn’t they wait?

This is the million-dollar question. Arrow McLaren released one of the best prospects in the field today. Malukas undoubtedly showed amazing things for Dale Coyne racing in the past two seasons. An example of this is his incredible second place at the 2022 Bommarito Automotive Group 500. In 2023, at the same racetrack the Chicago native took home third in his Dale Coyne Racing machine.

Understandably, McLaren wants a driver who is fit and capable of driving the entire season. However, wouldn’t patience have sufficed? It certainly feels way too quick at this moment. Especially for a talent like Malukas who had interest from the biggest teams in the sport.

Arrow McLaren controversy

In recent years, the guys in orange have been involved in high profile controversies. Most notably the messy saga between Reining IndyCar Series Champion Alex Palou and McLaren that’s still being fought. McLaren CEO Zak Brown launched a $31.5 million lawsuit against Palou over an alleged breach of contract. The Spaniard had supposedly agreed to join McLaren with the hopes of a future Formula 1 seat. However after a few weeks Palou reverted his decision and opted to stay with Chip Ganassi Racing. The 27-year-old went on to win the 2023 IndyCar Series Championship in dominant fashion.

While the Palou saga is less clear-cut, this new Malukas decision has sent shockwaves through the IndyCar fan base. Many fans feel that Malukas has been treated unfairly, and Arrow McLaren lost a lot of good will.

Arrow McLaren has had a difficult season so far. While Pato O’Ward did inherit the St. Petersburg win after Newgarden’s disqualification. The Long Beach and Grand Prix of Alabama results have been mediocre at best. In the streets of Long Beach Alexander Rossi finished a team best tenth, and in Alabama Theo Pourchaire finished a team best 22nd. Far away from the Arrow McLaren’s championship ambitions. For the guys in orange they’ll need to find a new driver for the rest of the season. Callum Ilott replaced Malukas in St. Pete and Theo Pourchaire has been racing the no. 6 in Long Beach and Barber.


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