Brown not setting specific targets for Castroneves in Harvest GP

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, would not be drawn on stating what he wishes to see from Helio Castroneves at Arrow McLaren SP in this weekend’s double-header Harvest GP on the IMS road course.

Brown not setting specific targets for Castroneves in Harvest GP

Castroneves has been drafted in to the #7 Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet to sub for Oliver Askew who has not been cleared to drive by the IndyCar Medical Team after suffering imbalance issues, believed to be a legacy of concussion from his heavy Indianapolis 500 shunt.

For Castroneves, whose Team Penske contract ends at the conclusion of his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign in the Acura ARX-05, this morning’s practice session was his first outing in an IndyCar on a roadcourse since taking part in May 2019’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Tomorrow’s Race 1 of the Harvest GP double-header will also be his first race in an IndyCar not entered by Team Penske since the final race of 1999, his sophomore season, when he competed for Hogan Racing.

Castroneves ended this afternoon’s 75-min practice session 23rd of the 25 entrants, one second slower than fulltime AMSP driver Patricio O’Ward, although the results were inconclusive due to the interrupted running on Firestone’s softer-compound due to a red flag.

Brown was asked by NBC Sports what he wished to see from Castroneves, who is regarding the weekend as an audition for a possible full-time return to IndyCar in 2021. The McLaren CEO responded: “Helio’s obviously a great champion. Having run two young drivers, it will be good to get someone with Helio’s experience this weekend to see what he thinks of how we’re doing.

“I’m sure he’ll add value and it’s exciting.

“He’s got tons of energy, he’s got Pato style energy but he’s twice his age. I don’t know how he does it.”

Team co-owner Sam Schmidt has often said he would like to run a third full-time car in 2021, although his expectations of this happening were down to 50/50 when asked by Motorsport.com in July.

Castroneves told Motorsport.com last week that his quest for a ride next season was going well.

“I’ve been talking to four teams that showed interest,” said the three-time Indy 500 winner. “One told me to wait until next month [October], another is waiting to see if his driver will retire or not, another is about to get the funds but nothing yet, and the last one wants to do Indy 500 only and I am trying to get the full season.

“The good news is that there are opportunities but we have to be patient. In IMSA I did speak with one team as well and they look very interested.”

Moving onto the topic of assessing the first season of McLaren’s partnership with what was formerly known as the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, Brown told NBC: “It’s going well. We’ve got one car third in the championship with Pato. Oliver’s had a variety of issues which sees him further back in the championship but for a first year we’re quite happy.

“The two teams have integrated well together and I think we should end up with a pretty strong season and look forward to next already.”

Regarding Askew, Brown commented: “He’s feeling good. He obviously wishes he was in the racecar, which is what you would expect from a racecar driver. He’s in good spirits and hopefully a speedy recovery and we’ll see him back in a car soon.”

The season finale is in three weeks’ time at St. Petersburg, and is a ‘home’ race for Jupiter, FL-born Askew.

shares
comments

Related video

IndyCar Harvest GP: Palou tops practice on IMS road course
Previous article

IndyCar Harvest GP: Palou tops practice on IMS road course

Next article

IndyCar Harvest GP: VeeKay on pole, Newgarden second, Dixon 12th

IndyCar Harvest GP: VeeKay on pole, Newgarden second, Dixon 12th
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021