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Malukas released from Arrow McLaren's IndyCar lineup

Written by Archie O’Reilly

Arrow McLaren have released David Malukas from their NTT IndyCar Series lineup for the remainder of the 2024 season as his recovery from surgery on a dislocated wrist continues.

Malukas has not run a race for McLaren after sustaining the injury in a mountain biking accident on 11th February. This required surgery to repair torn ligaments on 13th February and an initial time frame of six weeks was given for his recovery after his stitches were removed on 22nd February.

But Malukas suffered setbacks in his recovery, meaning he was unable to make his debut as expected in Long Beach. He further missed the Grand Prix of Alabama - the third points-paying race he had missed after being unavailable for St. Petersburg at the start of March - after only having pins removed in the week leading up to it.

Drivers have clauses in their contracts relating to only being able to miss a certain amount of events. Factoring in the fact Malukas also missed the $1 Million Challenge at the Thermal Club and said on X that it was “very unlikely” he would be able to compete on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in two weeks’ time, the team has decided to take action.

“The past three months have been challenging,” Malukas said. “I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to drive for Arrow McLaren and regret that it never materialised. I would have loved to have continued representing the team and its partners going forward. They have been good, and I appreciate all they have done for me.

“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 everybody 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.” 

Malukas has remained present at events with McLaren despite the anguish of seeing other drivers perform respectably in his place in the No.6 Chevrolet. He has still featured heavily on their social media channels, made other public appearances and been pictured doing track walks alongside those that have replaced him for the early rounds.

Callum Ilott, who was released from Juncos Hollinger Racing by mutual agreement in October last year after internal issues, competed in St. Pete and at the Thermal Club for the team. He also ran the recent Indianapolis 500 Open Test, as well as testing for the team at Barber last month. It has been suggested there was prior interest in Ilott.

But commitments with Jota Sport at Imola in the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship meant Ilott had to miss Long Beach and also sat out the Barber race given the brief turnaround time between events. McLaren opted to call up reigning Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire, who is racing full-time in Super Formula this year, in his place.

Ilott managed an 11th-place finish in his only points round for the team in St. Pete, while Pourchaire matched that result in Long Beach. Late contact instigated by teammate Pato O’Ward saw him finish 22nd in Barber - the best McLaren following a penalty for O’Ward and earlier incident for Alexander Rossi.

McLaren says it is currently “finalising its driver assignments for the remainder of the 2024 season and will announce confirmations for upcoming races in due course” as IndyCar enters the Month of May. Both of their deputy options having other full-time commitments could be a stumbling block to overcome.

It is a cruel blow for Malukas, whose first two years in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing saw him pick up two podiums and respectable 16th and 17th-place championship finishes. This earned him a move to McLaren as he replaced Felix Rosenqvist after Alex Palou, who was their primary option amid a Formula 1 test deal, decided to stay at Chip Ganassi Racing.

But amid continued uncertainty around Malukas’ recovery time, the team have had to opt to take the tough decision to release Malukas before he has even made his debut.


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