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Patricio O’Ward’s 2019 IndyCar ambitions saved by Carlin

by Ida Wood

Carlin has signed reigning Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward for a part-season in IndyCar after the Mexican was unexpectedly dropped by Harding Racing.

The 19-year-old will compete in 13 of the 17 races this year, including the Indianapolis 500. His $1 million scholarship prize, earned by winning the Indy Lights title, guarantees an entry into the Indy 500 and two other races.

O’Ward’s Harding deal fell apart last month when it was revealed that the team lacked the finances to run two cars, having signed O’Ward and his Indy Lights team-mate Colton Herta in the wake of the impression they had made after their IndyCar debuts in the 2018 season finale.

?I?m so excited to get this IndyCar season underway and I?m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Trevor Carlin has given me to drive for his Indy car team and Team Chevy,? O?Ward said.

?I?m just thankful that he and the whole Carlin team really believe in me, and I?ll give it my all to show them that I?m ready to tackle any challenges ahead of us starting in a few weeks at COTA.”

O’Ward’s seat fitting only took place after Carlin had travelled to St. Petersburg for this weekend’s IndyCar season opener, and his first race with the team will be the second round of the season, held at Formula 1 venue Circuit of the Americas.

?I just don?t think I can properly express how excited I am for this opportunity. It?s been a very stressful past few weeks given my circumstances, and it?s been a bit of a hustle trying to find a new home in IndyCar for myself, but I couldn?t be happier about landing at Carlin.?

Carlin will field former F1 driver Max Chilton for the full season, with Charlie Kimball driving the second car when O’Ward is not present. All three will be entered into the Indy 500.

?I?ve had the pleasure of working with many talented drivers over the years, many of whom now race in IndyCar, F1 and Formula E, and in Pato I really see a spark similar to some of our highest achieving alumni,? said Carlin team principal Trevor Carlin.

?He?s a hugely promising talent who deserves this opportunity and has a massive amount of potential. As a young Chevy team, we are incredibly driven and excited to help him achieve his goals in this 2019 program.?