Arrow Electronics commits to sponsor extension with McLaren
MONTEREY (AP) — IndyCar’s tiny team Sam Schmidt, 20 formed years ago. Now, the team is moving one step closer to becoming an elite organization. A sponsorship extension was announced by Arrow Electronics ahead of Sunday’s Laguna Seca race.
Arrow McLaren SP stated that the agreement with Arrow is a “long-term multiyear partnership extension” and that Arrow will still be listed in the team title. The McLaren Formula One team continues to be a partner of Arrow, the organization stated.
The extension was made as Pato O’Ward entered Sunday’s race ranked 2nd in the IndyCar standings and with a chance of winning Arrow McLaren’s first IndyCar title. Schmidt drivers have won championships at Indy Lights, but not at the highest IndyCar level.
Simon Pagenaud was fifth in the standings two times, while a Schmidt-owned car finished third in a stretch of 2012 through 2014 where the team displayed the potential that attracted Arrow. The Colorado-based company played a part in 2015, and continued to increase its funding every year. Finally, it took an investment stake that made Arrow an entitlement sponsorship sponsor.
McLaren was a commercial partner in 2019 and will assume majority ownership from Schmidt and Ric Peterson at the end. Although the team name will not change, it will be more clearly McLaren with Arrow as a strong partner. Mike Long,
Arrow Electronics chairman, took pride in helping Schmidt grow from a one-car team to an organisation that has three full-time cars by 2023. O’Ward also mounted a legitimate championship campaign. Long stated that Schmidt and Peterson had a year-to-2018 plan before Arrow became a partner.
” We all sat down together and asked each other, “Where do you want to be five-years later?” Long stated. “We are going to invest. If there is a vision that states: “We’re going win,” we’ll be there. You don’t need to win this year. You don’t have to win next year, but we have to win.’
“The approach we took was, ‘We’re going to be there, we’re going to provide resources for you to win, but we’ve got to see the vision.'”
The team was indeed growing and overcame a 2018 setback when promising rookie Robert Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash. Schmidt, a quadriplegic after a 2000 accident, and Arrow, which have built an “exoskeleton”, that allows Schmidt to dance at his daughter’s wedding, have supported Wickens.
But saw a major change in as McLaren joined forces with Arrow and Schmidt to help the series’ slow return to IndyCar Series. McLaren has seen a lot of driver turnover. The McLaren brass noticed a star in O’Ward, and they grabbed him when he suddenly became available. This led to steady growth at the track.
O’Ward was victorious in his first two IndyCar races — the victory at Texas in May was his first since 2016. Now he’s working to win the championship.
“We are not here to lose,” Schmidt stated. This has been a long-term project. Many drivers and teams see our cars. They see that we have doubled our resources. This is what we’ve wanted to do since 2013.”
O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist are both expected to return in 2022, and McLaren boss Zak Brown has said he hopes to have three cars the next year. Brown celebrated last weekend’s McLaren win by 1-2 — the first win for F1 in nine seasons — an event that has fired up both IndyCar as well as F1.
” We’re nervous about the IndyCar title,” Schmidt stated. It’s good to be nervous. We want to be here.”
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