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IndyCar Laguna Seca

Malukas brings 'hunger' to Arrow McLaren in IndyCar - Kanaan

Tony Kanaan believes the youth and hunger of Arrow McLaren's recent addition David Malukas will strengthen the IndyCar operation and help him to flourish in his future career.

David Malukas

On Friday, Malukas was announced as Meyer Shank Racing-bound Felix Rosenqvist's replacement at Arrow McLaren, completing the team's three-car 2024 lineup alongside Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi.

Malukas, a Chicago-born American-Lithuanian, has spent the past two seasons at Dale Coyne Racing with HMD, earning a pair of podiums that includes a career-best runner-up last year at the 1.25-mile oval formerly known as Gateway.

The 21-year-old has one more start with Coyne this weekend at Laguna Seca before work with his new team begins. Recently-retired IndyCar veteran Kanaan, who serves an advisory role that includes mentorship for the drivers at Arrow McLaren, is eager to get him embedded within the organisation.

“I think he brings a lot of youngness to the team,” Kanaan told Autosport. “He's pretty strong in the ovals, I think we were strong as a team on the ovals.

“He's young, he's hungry and that's what we need.

“I always had tough team-mates and they only raised my game every time, if you look at my career and the name of team-mates I had.

“That's what we are trying to do here, so that was something that weighed a lot of our decision to bring him up.”

Kanaan, who finished 16th in his final IndyCar Series start at this year’s Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren, believes Malukas has a high ceiling that will only be fulfilled by going against team-mates that will challenge him to grow.

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“A hundred percent,” said Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 winner. “I was very fortunate from [Alex] Zanardi to you name it.

“How many team-mates: Dario [Franchitti], Bryan [Herta], [Scott] Dixon. They only made me better.

“We saw a lot of talent in him and with the other two that we have, they're already pushing each other like crazy, I think he'll be a great addition.”

The timing of the announcement is also crucial, with Malukas joining ahead of an offseason that will likely be filled with testing with IndyCar’s hybrid engine looming. “That's the whole point,” Kanaan added.

The arrival of Malukas comes after Arrow McLaren were forced to change course by recently crowned two-time series champion’s Alex Palou’s decision to not join the team in 2024 and remain with Chip Ganassi Racing.

“In racing, you can't wait,” Kanaan said. “Sometimes you pull the trigger and you pull the trigger too soon, but I also think that it took us just a little bit longer than other people. You've seen the way the market moved in the last couple months.

“But this is everything, especially with the hybrid. Next year we're going to get a lot of testing in, but we're going to get him in the shop.

“Everybody gets a break this week, but next week he'll be in the shop and I get to work with him and many things that I think that I've seen in it already that we think we needed to improve.

“He needs to learn the way the mentality of the team works. And then he's going to be in the car soon.”

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