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All the details: Arrow McLaren terminates IndyCar partnership with Juncos

Written by Archie O’Reilly

Arrow McLaren have announced that they have terminated their commercial alliance with Juncos Hollinger Racing with immediate effect. The teams came together to forge the business partnership during the IndyCar off-season.

“This decision follows actions that occurred earlier this week on social media in regards to an on-track incident at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix,” Arrow McLaren’s statement reads. 

“As reflected in the team’s social media community code, Arrow McLaren will not tolerate any form of abuse or discrimination and totally condemns the online abuse directed toward our team and driver.”

On Monday, Arrow McLaren and Juncos revealed a joint-statement after abuse, including death threats, was directed at Arrow McLaren driver Theo Pourchaire after contact with Juncos’ No.78 Chevy Agustin Canapino. Neither driver was eliminated from the race by the unintentional collision and Pourchaire was dropped three places as a penalty for his error.

The statement, shared by Arrow McLaren on Monday and retweeted by Juncos’ social media account, said: “The past 24 hours have unfortunately provided our teams with a stark reminder about the necessity for respect and civility in our online interactions. 

“Social media allows us to engage with our fans around the world, but it is important that we interact with each other in a respectful and safe environment. We will not tolerate any form of abuse or discrimination and those participating in such actions are not welcome in our online community and will be blocked.

“IndyCar delivers dynamic action on the racetrack and incredible access for fans, but we must remember that behind the wheel, the pit wall or the monitor, we are all human beings. It is vital that we collectively maintain a safe and welcoming community for all involved.”

Pourchaire separately posted on X to say he was “sad” to have received “so much hate and death threats” in the wake of what was a “small” and largely inconsequential incident on Lap 60 of Sunday’s Detroit Grand Prix. 

“I hope people can understand that we are all humans and we can make mistakes,” the 20-year-old, racing in only his fourth IndyCar race, added. “But it’s not normal to abuse people online. Please be kind to each other.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown responded by describing the abuse as “sad and pathetic” and encouraged his “Champ” of a young driver to keep doing what he is doing in the early stages of his IndyCar career. The Detroit weekend saw the reigning FIA Formula 2 champion achieve his best qualifying position of seventh and best race finish of 10th. 

An individual statement from Juncos came two days after the incident on Tuesday.

“At Juncos Hollinger Racing, abuse, hatred, and harassment in any form is unacceptable,” it read. “It is not tolerated within the Juncos Hollinger Racing community, and is not representative of who we are as a team. We are working with those affected to identify the individuals responsible.

“Any violators of this policy will be blocked from the Juncos Hollinger Racing community. We are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all, and believe that no one should be made to feel unwelcome. As IndyCar fans, we must all work together to create a community where everyone is treated with respect and kindness.”

All the while, Canapino - whose fans are alleged to have sent the brunt of the abuse and threats to Pourchaire - has come under fire for liking posts on X that appear to mock Pourchaire.

One particular post liked by Canapino was captioned “Callum Pourchaire” in an attempt to poke fun at both Pourchaire and Callum Ilott, who twice suffered similar abuse and threats during his time at Juncos last season. The first incident came in Long Beach and the second at Laguna Seca, leading to Ilott temporarily deactivating his social media.

He doubled down on liking this post - coming from Argentinian IndyCar commentator Martin Ponte, who played a part in the abuse directed at Ilott last year - by liking a further reply. The reply seemed to justify the remark as being acceptable “because it is a funny post” despite it appearing to mock the threats directed at two young competitors. 

Canapino also liked posts appearing to downplay the threats by saying they would not be acted upon anyway. He replied with laughing emojis to one post translated from Spanish to read: “Come on friend, there I kill someone who is on another continent when I barely have enough time to leave the province.”

Canapino also appeared to deny that the threats existed. He liked one tweet asking for evidence of the threats after “a year” of waiting for them and another suggesting “nobody threatened to kill” Pourchaire. He also liked a post saying “no one even made a fuss” when threats were aimed at Aston Villa Football Club goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Both the denial of the threats and suggestion that they should be ignored were reinforced by a statement released by Canapino on Tuesday.

“Of course, I am against abuse and hate,” 34-year-old Canapino wrote in his statement. “Those who engage in such behaviour are certainly not part of our community and are not welcome here. 

“Also, we Argentines are passionate and euphoric, but that doesn’t mean we should be accused of something we are not. Therefore, I strongly reject being generalised and placed in a category we don’t deserve. I have not seen a single death threat directed at those who claim to have received them.

“From last year to today, no one in their right mind would do such a thing. It’s outrageous to be accused of this so lightly, and I won’t allow it anymore. If anyone did this, THEY ARE NOT PART OF US, and we don’t deserve to be considered this way because of some misfits WE STRONGLY REJECT. 

“The majority of our fans are respectful and kind people, whom I deeply support and thank for their continuous support, through good times and bad. I constantly receive abuse and hate, and I have learned to live with it as many people do, choosing to ignore it. There’s nothing sadder and more miserable than hiding behind social media to insult others. 

“Lastly, I take this opportunity to invite everyone to reconsider and help others reconsider that we must base our actions on respect above all. We are free to express our emotions and feelings, but with respect and tolerance. It’s the best way to evolve and become better as a society.”

The statement, which contradicts Canapino’s own activity on social media, was not the first suggestion from within the Juncos team that this barrage of abuse could be ignored after a similar line was towed after the bouts of threats sent to Ilott last year. The Briton would ultimately depart the team one month later.

Juncos say they maintain “the utmost respect” for Arrow McLaren and are “confident” in their own future.


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