Michael Andretti: Patricio O’Ward turned down eight-race deal with Andretti Autosport
Michael Andretti has revealed Patricio O’Ward rejected an eight-race deal to race for his Andretti Autosport team in the 2019 NTT IndyCar season.
O'Ward had been signed with the Harding Steinbrenner team for 2019 alongside 2018 Indy Lights runner-up Colton Herta, but left the team on Monday with immediate effect.
HSR has yet to release a statement on the matter, but it is rumoured the split was due to the team only being able to source just one engine lease from new partners Honda. With the second car only getting engines available for the Indianapolis 500.
Andretti had been keen to give the young Mexican some races, more than his $1m scholarship prize would pay for. However, it appears O'ward was heavily intent on securing a seat for the full 2019 season.
“I offered him a ride in one of our cars for eight races this year and he turned it down. He wanted a full season,” Andretti told Autoweek. “He had a pretty good offer on the table, and he turned it down. I offered that to him this past weekend.”
With the opening race of the season in St.Petersburg, Florida is quickly approaching on March 10, Andretti believes O’Ward will likely struggle to find a better deal elsewhere on the grid than the one he had offered.
“It’s always dependent on cars and money,” Andretti added. “I spent a lot of time on the phone with him trying to convince him to do it and he dug in that he had to do a full season. I told him I can’t do that. I wish I could offer it to him, but I couldn’t.”
With the new season fast approaching, Andretti believes there may not be time for the young Mexican driver to find another deal.
“I don’t know what he is going to do, now. Maybe he has something else.”