until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


McLaren cuts ties with Juncos after Pourchaire abuse

by Jack Benyon
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The Arrow McLaren IndyCar team has dropped Juncos Hollinger Racing as a strategic partner after McLaren’s Theo Pourchaire was abused online by fans of JHR and fans of its driver Agustin Canapino.

The two teams - with IndyCar’s two most popular drivers in Spanish-speaking markets in Pato O’Ward and Canapino - joined forces late last year in a bid to capitalise on those fanbases mainly from a commercial perspective. There’s no competition element or sharing of any on-track data, information of equipment in the deal.

Last weekend, Pourchaire crashing into Canapino during the Detroit Grand Prix led to death threats towards Pourchaire on social media in the aftermath. 

It’s the third time a driver has received death threats from JHR and Canapino’s fans after two instances for his team-mate Callum Ilott last year.

“Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team has terminated its commercial alliance with Juncos Hollinger Racing, effective immediately,” said a team statement on Thursday.

“This decision follows actions that occurred earlier this week on social media in regards to an on-track incident at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

“As reflected in the team’s social media community code, Arrow McLaren will not tolerate any form of abuse or discrimination and totally condemns the online abuse directed toward our team and driver.”

In the aftermath of the death threats, McLaren and Juncos released a joint statement on Monday - posted by McLaren - and Pourchaire also posted to social media confirming the incident.

The next day, Canapino issued his own statement, saying he has “not seen a single death threat directed at those who claim to have received them” and that it's “outrageous” for his support base to be “accused of this so lightly”.

McLaren has confirmed to The Race that it has screen grabs of the threats made to Pourchaire - which reportedly number well over 20 - and that several of the screen grabs were shared with Juncos Hollinger on Monday. It’s not clear if they were shared with Canapino before he issued his statement.

The threats to Pourchaire have also been verified by fluent Spanish speakers to ensure they are not being poorly translated or misunderstood because of the language barrier.

Canapino and team boss Ricardo Juncos - who likely hold the biggest sway with the team's fanbase and therefore some sort of apology or urging the fanbase to not do this again would hold the most weight - have remained silent publicly on the matter since Canapino's statement, likely being one of the biggest reasons for McLaren severing ties with the JHR team. 

Canapino’s statement has been widely criticised online. He also said in it that he chooses to ignore abuse and hate he receives online, and also liked and replied to tweets which could be seen as mocking the situation in the aftermath.

After McLaren confirmed the end of the partnership, JHR issued a statement that made no reference to last week’s events.

It’s clear this has been a difficult period for JHR, but while the team’s communications department has been working with McLaren to try to find a resolution, ultimately the team ownership and the driver whose fans are responsible remaining silent as individuals has caused further friction.

IndyCar itself took 17 hours from McLaren's original statement to issue a 47-word response to journalists who asked for comment but hasn't shared anything via its own social media channels in the aftermath.

There appears to have been little in the way of consequences for the people threatening Pourchaire after an on-track incident.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks