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McLaren admits Malukas damage “extra severe than we thought”

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Malukas was introduced in on the conclusion of the 2023 IndyCar season, signed to interchange Felix Rosenqvist within the staff’s No. 6 Chevrolet after the fallout from the Alex Palou contract drama.

However a mountain biking accident in February dealt accidents that led to surgical procedure on the left wrist of Malukas, which has left him unavailable for race weekends or testing since.

Arrow McLaren has since leaned closely on Callum Ilott, who can be contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship with Crew Jota. Ilott has taken half in a number of exams with the staff whereas additionally substituting for Malukas for St. Petersburg and the non-points occasion at The Thermal Membership.

As a result of a battle with the WEC schedule, Ilott handed off the duties for Lengthy Seashore – a race Malukas was initially considered able to return for – to reigning System 2 champion Theo Pourchaire.

Pourchaire mentioned on Friday that he was contracted “to drive for the following two races, to interchange David” which might additionally embrace subsequent weekend’s spherical at Barber Motorsports Park. He did later backpedal to notice that his position for the latter occasion relies on Malukas’ well being.

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In an unique roundtable interview on Saturday afternoon – during which solely Autosport, the Related Press, Indianapolis Star and NBC Sports activities had been current – staff chief Zak Brown and Ward supplied the most recent replace on Malukas.

“The staff has been very supportive of David, and it has been actually an unlucky scenario,” Ward mentioned. “Extra unlucky is that his accidents are far more severe than we thought initially.

“So, a giant a part of our focus has been on attempting to assist him in each means we are able to on his restoration, but additionally, we have been spending an terrible lot of time right here to ensure we’ve aggressive drivers in that No. 6 automotive.

“Sadly, it is simply a variety of uncertainty proper now. We have got Theo in there; he is doing a great job in troublesome circumstances.”

Theo Pourchaire, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Picture by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Ward went on to notice Ilott “did a great job” and the way “the silver lining is a few nice expertise” that he can name upon.

When requested about balancing the well being of Malukas versus the best way to do what’s finest for the way forward for the staff, with the notion this setback may permit the staff to maneuver on, Ward mentioned: “We’re having to make troublesome selections and I believe there’s an excessive amount of uncertainty to invest.

“We’re doing our greatest to try to deal with him. We obtained all of the rehab and physio and assist we are able to, however on the finish of the day, we have to additionally take care of the efficiency of the staff.”

When additional pressed to declare parting methods being a chance, Ward said: “We don’t know.”

Brown then confirmed that Malukas nonetheless has a forged on his arm and that the pins are anticipated to be taken out this week.

“The reality is the uncertainty,” conceded Ward. “Sadly, it is a vital damage with an unclear restoration proper now. Cannot actually say yay or nay.”

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

With uncertainty over Malukas for the month of Might, Autosport inquired what the contingency plan could be; if that would come with Ilott returning to run the Indy 500 or pulling Sporting Director Tony Kanaan out of retirement or calling on a veteran similar to J.R. Hildebrand.

That was rapidly adopted by one other outlet then chiming in on Kanaan’s position and the way it aids what shall be a four-car staff with the addition of 2021 NASCAR Cup Collection champion Kyle Larson, who’s making his Indy 500 debut.

“There’s that and Tony provides the worth to all 4 automobiles by not being targeted on himself, however he is actually somebody [to look at],” Brown mentioned.

“I believe we have a variety of completely different eventualities that we’re working via.”

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