IndyCar rookie of the year contender Oliver Askew has been declared not fit to race at next weekend’s Harvest Grand Prix at Indianapolis, and will be replaced in the Arrow McLaren SP team by Helio Castroneves.
Following the recent IndyCar double-header at Mid-Ohio, Askew reported issues with balance and co-ordination, and is now subject to IndyCar’s return to racing protocol after being checked by its medical team.
“This was an incredibly tough call but I have to follow the advice of the IndyCar medical team and my doctors,” said reigning Indy Lights champion Askew, who is 18th in the points so far this year.
“My priority right now is focusing on my health.
“Despite not being in the car, I will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest GP, giving whatever insight and support to Arrow McLaren SP that I can.”
The Arrow McLaren SP run will be the first time triple Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves has raced an IndyCar for a team other than Penske since his initial CART seasons with the Bettenhausen and Hogan teams in 1998/99.
He faces a race to find a seat for 2021 as his latest Indy 500 one-off appears to have been his last with Penske.
“First and foremost, we wish Oliver the best and that he is able to take time to recover,” said Castroneves.
“I look forward to getting back on track and helping to build on the great progress that Arrow McLaren SP has made this year.”
Askew crashed out of a promising position during the last Indianapolis road course race. His team-mate Patricio O’Ward, who Castroneves will line up alongside in the Harvest GP, is battling for third in the championship.
Castroneves’ arrival won’t be the only driver change. Andretti Autosport is set to announce a successor for Zach Veach, who left the team on Wednesday, while Sebastien Bourdais returns to IndyCar with AJ Foyt Enteprises for the rest of this year and 2021.
Sage Karam will also race on the Indianapolis road course double header with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing after the team rescheduled its outings.