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Third Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar entry “unlikely” this year after Indy 500

A third Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar entry running beyond May is now looking doubtful as the team focuses on gearing up for three full-time entries for 2023.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Team president Taylor Kiel and McLaren CEO Zak Brown had been considering the prospect of continuing with a third car this year, after Juan Pablo Montoya’s participation in the Grand Prix of Indy and the Indianapolis 500 alongside full-timers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.

However, Kiel has now confirmed to Autosport that other commitments have taken precedence.

“We thought about it quite a bit as a way of preparing for 2023,” he said. “I think going forward you’ll always see us run an extra car in the Indy 500 to stack the odds in our favour a little bit.

“But I think undertaking a third car to dip our toes in the water in the ’22 championship to prepare for ’23 wasn’t a model we felt comfortable with.

"We’ve seen other people do it, and that’s good and fine, but it’s not for us. Our cars are going to be in it full time or not at all – with the exception, as I say, of 500. So I don’t think you’ll see the #6 car [to be used by Montoya in May] again after Indy. I mean, never say never, but I’d say it was unlikely.

“We feel it would be prudent to use the full amount of time that we have before 2023 to build up a program that will be ready to come out of the gate from the start of next year, rather than just toss something together now that could detract from the #5 and #7 programs of Pato and Felix.

“We’re also going to be doing a lot of the 2.4-litre hybrid testing [now scheduled for 2024], so we also need a group prepared for that. So looking at the team today, we’ve got two full-time cars, a third car for the Month of May, I’m trying to build a team to run a third car full-time next year and I need a test team that can go run the hybrid testing program. And there are other projects we’ve got going on, too.”

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Kiel acknowledged that retaining a third crew over the past couple of seasons, even when running only two cars full-time, has paid off.

“In the short term it has been helpful to us, yes, because it gives us flexibility,” said Kiel. “But it’s also important for the medium and long term when we scale up to the third car next year. I’m looking down the barrel of hiring 20-25 more people in the next six to eight months and I’m kinda concerned, just like everybody else.

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“We’ve got a lot of openings, we’re trying to expand our operation because we have a lot of cool things on our horizon that we can’t really talk about just yet. I see great things for this team going forward.

“But the lack of qualified staff available out there is a real problem right now. We’re all just poaching from each other within the industry, because we’re all looking for people who are known quantities with experience.”

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