Hinchcliffe is out of ride, O’Ward and Askew for Arrow McLaren (3rd Update)

Honda Spokesperson James Hinchcliffe will stay with Honda in 2020
James Hinchcliffe

UPDATE A source familiar with the situation, who has been granted anonymity to speak freely about the situation, told Norris McDonald of the Toronto Star that, “Schmidt Peterson have really put the screws to James. He was gobsmacked when they told him; for him, it came entirely out of the blue.

“They will pay him his salary (estimated in the neighborhood of $500,000 U.S. a year) but to earn it he will have to go to the races and be in their hospitality unit and shake hands with people and talk about racing and be a personality. They might also have him do some appearances away from the races. They are on the hook for a lot of money and they will want to get their money’s worth."

Schmidt and Zak Brown put the royal screw to Hinchcliffe
Schmidt and Zak Brown put the royal screw to Hinchcliffe. Paybacks are always a bitch

The insider added that if Hinchcliffe balks or refuses an assignment, the team would consider that a breach of contract and stop paying him.

Hinchcliffe’s lawyers, according to the source, have threatened to sue and been told that if they follow through, the team will stop paying him.

“James might walk away but he would be taking a big chance," the source said. “There aren’t any rides to be had, for starters, but even if there were none of the other teams is in a position to pay him that kind of money. Except for Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti, none of the other drivers in IndyCar are even making close to that. And even if a lawsuit was successful – and that’s debatable – legal fees and court costs would eat up a lot of whatever he might win.

“So he’s really between a rock and a hard place."

10/30/19 reader asks, Dear AR1.com, please rate James Hinchcliffe's chances of landing a ride for 2020 given he just got let go by the Arrows McLaren SP team Sunday night. Dawn Bowers

Dear Dawn, If he is to land a ride it will have to be with a Honda team. He has some backing from Honda as their spokesperson, but not enough for a full-time seat. We list his options:

Team Comments
Dale Coyne Racing As a 2nd driver if Ferrucci does not re-sign, or as a third driver, but more money will have to be found in both cases
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Bobby has wanted to add a third car for awhile, but more money will have to be found
Chip Ganassi Racing It's a 3-car team for 2020, up from two in 2019, but the team has run as many as 4-cars in recent years
Andretti Steinbrenner Harding Yes, Michael already has 4 cars running out of his main shop, but the Andretti Steinbrenner Harding operation has just Colton Herta right now and Harding's shop outside of the Speedway can easily service 2 cars – Herta's and Hinchcliffe's

10/29/19 James Hinchcliffe, the face of Honda of Canada and Honda’s American television commercials, was informed Sunday night he no longer had a job.

James Hinchcliffe is now rumored to land as a third driver for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda team with word that Honda will keep him in their camp.

A Honda paid spokesperson driving for the Arrow McLaren SP Chevy Team was never going to work.

Mexican Patricio O'Ward and 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew are rumored to be the Arrow McLaren SP drivers for 2020 with Fernando Alonso in a third car for the Indy 500.

2020 IndyCar Silly Season Page

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