James Hinchcliffe just got married last weekend. Now, the newlywed is going to have to look for a new place to race in 2020. Sources say though that the popular Canadian driver saw this coming and has already talked to a couple of different Indy Car teams recently.
But, did a rift between McLaren and Honda in Formula One cause Hinchcliffe to lose his ride with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports?
See, McLaren Racing has wanted to come back to the NTT IndyCar Series the last few years now. The only catch was, it had to be with Chevrolet. See, with two engine manufacturers in the series (Honda, Chevrolet) they couldn’t race with Honda again. Their split with Honda in F1 a few years ago was ugly. The prompted McLaren to look to Chevy which happily welcomed them.
But, they wanted an alliance. Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was the best option since they shared Arrow as a sponsor. It worked out. But, the only catch there was, SPM had to switch from Honda to Chevrolet power in order for this to work. Both SPM and Andretti tried to persuade Honda to allow McLaren to come back. Obviously, it didn’t work.
So, SPM had to get out of their deal a year early. They were able to do so. That means a driver like Hinchcliffe who’s backing is from Honda has a tough decision to make – return to SPM and their new joint effort with McLaren since he does have a year left in his contract or remain loyal to his longtime supporter in Honda of Canada and look elsewhere.
SPM has won seven times in their Indy Car career, Hinchcliffe has won three of them including at least one win in each of the last two years. He’s winless in 2019 but has shown flashes of brilliance in his No. 5 Honda.
While he will have options with other Honda teams if he wishes to remain with Honda, it’s a decision that Honda and McLaren made a few years ago as to why Hinchcliffe is likely losing his ride.