Arrow McLaren Rebranding Not Surprising

Anyone who didn’t expect Arrow McLaren SP to eventually become simply Arrow Mclaren was kidding themselves. The name change was inevitable. The Arrow McLaren name, effective for the 2023 Indycar season, reflects the changes in the team since McLaten came on board in 2020.

The team founded by Sam Schmidt has now undergone six name changes since sam Schmidt Motorsports began competing in 2001. Fo 2012 the team was Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, then Schmidt Peterson in 2014, Arrow Schmidt Peterson followed in 2019, Arrow McLaren SP in 2020, and now Arrow McLaren.

Schmidt and the Arrow ca her has driven with mouth and head controls

I understand that Sam Scmidt and Rick Peterson’s roles with the team will remain unchanged. I find it sad that Schmidt’s name will no longer be on a car in some fashion.

Sam Schmidt has put a lot into Indycar. After the accident in Texas which paralyzed him, he began his own team and also had a large presence in Indy lights. His cars won two poles at the Indianapolis 500, with Alex Tagliani and James Hinchcliffe. Schmidt also had an ownership stake in Dan Wheldon’s 11 Indianapolis victory.

Schmidt has done a lot of work helping others who have become paralyzed.

Times do change, and names move on. I think Schmidt still has a lot to co0ntribute to Indycar, and I wish there wer4e some way he could still be recognized on a car.

Schmidt: “An Opportunity That We Couldn’t Pass Up.”

Sam Schmidt explained why the newly formed Arrow McLaren SP team decided to go with Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew  for 2020 and let James Hinchcliffe go.

“…it’s a gut-wrenching decision, but we were faced with an opportunity to pick up these two young guns coming out of Indy Lights that already have 13, 14, 15 years worth of experience…” Schmidt said.

Hinchcliffe is still under contract, which the team will honor. If Hinchcliffe needs a release to drive for another team, it will be granted. Schmidt has no doubt that he will find a ride somewhere.

Robert Wickens is still part of the team as a consultant and driver coach. The car number 6 is still reserved for him, and Schmidt expects him at the majority of races next season. AMSP still has rights to the numbers 5 and 7, but hasn’t determined which driver will will have which number. No decision has been made on who will drive in next week’s aeroscreen test at Sebring.

The drivers are looking forward to their opportunities.  O’Ward has run eight Indycar races and Askew debuts at St. Petersburg. O’Ward is excited to restart in Indycar with a newly organized team.

IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas

Pato O’Ward at Sonoma in his Indycar debut. Photo: Stephen King, Indycar

“I think we’re going to make a really good  team. We’re both hungry for all the success. I think at his point both the team and we are growing, we’re
starting a new chapter in our careers and I think thesky’s the limit. So we’re going to be pushing, pushing, pushing and I know that with hard work and really
dedicating lots of time and thinking into our future and into our season we should be, we should definitely be up there,” O’Ward said.
Oliver Askew at Indianapolis. Photo from
Askew added, “I’m very excited to be partnering with Pato for 2020. I think we both get along very well and we have a very, like you said, a very similar driving background and very similar driving style coming from the Indy Lights car and working with Andretti Auto Sport as well. Our — we have the same drive to be successful, as does the team, and we plan on working very closely with one another to help each other grow and help each other get better in the series.”
The team plans to run a third car at the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 as they have done for the past 12 years. Fernando Alonso “remains an option” but nothing is confirmed.

My Thoughts

AMSP could be an exciting team to watch in 2020. We have an idea of what O’Ward can do, and I’m interested to see how Askew adapts to Indycar.

The team has a lot of PR work to do with the fans. I think they could have handled the Hinchcliffe situation better, but this is a business, and tough personnel decisions happen a lot.

McLaren especially needs to demonstrate that they can run an Indycar team properly after last year’s Indianapolis debacle.

While Schmidt seemed to be the team’s lead spokesman during the teleconference today, I still wonder how much he and Ric Peterson will be involved in 2020 and beyond. I’d feel better if their names were more a part of the the team name and logo.

New Name, New Logo – Thoughts

The name change is now official. 2019’s Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is now Arrow McLaren SP. The new logo above was published via twitter this morning.   I find the logo rather blah. It is simply a block A with the bar bent to resemble an M.

Sam Schmidt founded the team after his racing career ended after a practice crash in Texas left him a quadriplegic.  After success with his Indy Lights program, Schmidt has been a full time team in the NTT Indycar Seriessince 2011. I understand it’s a business deal, but I think Schmidt deserves  more recognition in the team name and logo.

The logo does not give any recognition to Sam Schmidt or Rick Peterson. Even the new team name gives the original team owners little recognition.  I would have thought companies like Arrow and McLaren together could have come up with a more dynamic looking symbol for their team. This just doesn’t say this is a racing organization to me.

Arrow McLaren SP has not announced the driver of its second car, although pato O’Ward is now the front runner for that seat. As of now James Hinchcliffe is still in the number 5 car.