McLaren have already given up on a former Indy 500 winner

Alexander Rossi's time at Arrow McLaren is set to come to an end after the 2024 IndyCar season, only his second year behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet.
Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren, IndyCar
Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren, IndyCar / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For a team said to be seeking stability, there seem to have been quite a few driver changes at Arrow McLaren over the last two-plus months.

First, it was David Malukas with whom the team cut ties after he missed the 2024 IndyCar season's first four races with a wrist injury he suffered in an offseason mountain biking accident. Malukas was to drive the No. 6 Chevrolet that McLaren had hoped Alex Palou would drive before he decided to return to Chip Ganassi Racing.

Callum Ilott and Theo Pourchaire filled in for Malukas in select races before the Indy 500. Ilott was confirmed as the driver of the No. 6 Chevrolet for the Indy 500, and Pourchaire was confirmed to be the driver of the car for the remainder of the season after that.

But just two races into that 12-race stretch to conclude the season, Pourchaire was replaced by Nolan Siegel. The team believed that Siegel was too good to pass up and that he would land with a rival if they did not make a move.

When team principal Gavin Ward gave a wishy-washy response on Alexander Rossi's future with the organization when pressed about whether or not Pourchaire could find himself back with the team next year, it became relatively clear that Rossi was on the hot seat.

Now, despite the fact that he just finished on the podium at Laguna Seca, he was the team's top finisher in last year's Indy 500 in fifth place, he finished this year's Indy 500 in fourth, and he currently sits in seventh in the championship standings, his best position since 2019 and just 10 points behind teammate Pato O'Ward, the eight-time race winner and former championship runner-up is out.

It is worth mentioning that Rossi was indeed in a contract year, so it's not as if the team have cut ties with him early.

Christian Lundgaard replacing Alexander Rossi

The top free agent on the market following Josef Newgarden's long-awaited contract extension with Team Penske became Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Christian Lundgaard.

After a whole year of the team talking about how they were going to bounce back after a disastrous month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year, there was very little to show for it. The writing was on the wall, and Lundgaard took the opportunity to sign elsewhere.

The move comes less than two weeks before the Hy-Vee doubleheader at Iowa Speedway. Hy-Vee has been a major supporter of Lundgaard during his three seasons at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, particularly since last year when he moved from the No. 30 Honda to the No. 45 Honda.

Provided Arrow McLaren don't announce 31 more driver changes between now and next season, this announcement should solidify their lineup for 2025. O'Ward is set to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet, Siegel is set to drive the No. 6 Chevrolet, and Lundgaard is set to drive the No. 7 Chevrolet.

Lundgaard's departure leaves Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with a seat to fill. Ironically, Lundgaard has stood atop the podium more times (one) than Arrow McLaren have since the start of last season. O'Ward did inherit a victory at St. Petersburg earlier this season after the result was overturned 45 days later. Lundgaard won last year's race in Toronto.

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Rossi, who won the Indy 500 as a rookie in 2016 with Andretti Autosport, now finds himself searching for a new ride for the 2025 season.