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David Malukas sidelined for six weeks with wrist injury, likely to miss St. Pete

Written by Archie O’Reilly

New Arrow McLaren signing for the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series season, David Malukas, faces six weeks sidelined and will likely miss the season-opening race on the streets of St. Pete in Florida. The team are currently evaluating reserve driver options for the No.6 car.

The 22-year-old American, who is joining McLaren after two years in IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing, suffered a dislocated left wrist in a mountain biking accident last weekend. He underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments on Tuesday 13th February.

Malukas' surgery took place just short of three weeks prior to the start of track action at St. Pete. The team have stated that his recovery time is expected to be six weeks following the removal of stitches on 22nd February. As well as the St. Pete weekend, Malukas will miss testing time and could likely miss the Million Dollar Challenge exhibition race at the Thermal Club on 24th March.

Zach Veach, who ran 47 IndyCar races between 2017 and 2020, including 45 with Andretti Autosport, is Arrow McLaren’s official reserve driver, though the team do not necessarily seem to have landed on a replacement and intend to make an announcement in due course.

Another option could be Callum Ilott, who is without a seat following his off-season split with Juncos Hollinger Racing and told DIVEBOMB in December that he intends to be in the paddock in St. Pete. He wants to be present at as many IndyCar events as possible when there are no clashes with his 2024 World Endurance Championship Hypercar programme.

There has previously been reported interest in Ilott from the team, though they ultimately opted to sign Malukas with Ilott still under contract with Juncos at the time.

Other options for McLaren could include the likes of Jack Harvey - if he does not move to Dale Coyne Racing - or Conor Daly, who substituted at both Meyer Shank Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing late last season following the loss of his Ed Carpenter Racing seat. An outside option could be now-Sporting Director Tony Kanaan, who ran the Indianapolis 500 for McLaren last year.

In any case, it seems as though Malukas' debut could now be pushed back to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on 21st April. A saving grace is the fact that there is a six-week break between the first two points-paying races.

"It's just heartbreaking for David, of course, and our entire team," Team Principal, Gavin Ward, said. "We've seen how much work he and this entire group has put into preparing for his first season in papaya. But it's often how we recover from setbacks and adversity that defines us and our character. We will do everything we can to support David in his recovery and when he's back on track the success will be all the sweeter.”

"I'm gutted this happened, especially so close to the season," Malukas added. "I feel horrible for the team who have worked so hard to prepare for our first season together. I will be working hard to get back on track as soon as I can. I can't wait to go racing with the team in papaya."

Malukas was announced to be driving for McLaren ahead of the final race of the 2023 season in September - something he has admitted he enjoyed keeping under wraps for a few weeks while people continued to speculate ahead of an announcement.

Alex Palou, who was a McLaren Formula One reserve, had looked set to move from Chip Ganassi Racing to Arrow McLaren’s No.6 car. But, after Palou opted to stay at Ganassi, leading to legal proceedings over his contract, McLaren opted to turn to two-time podium-sitter Malukas as a replacement for Meyer Shank Racing-bound Felix Rosenqvist.


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