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Reigning Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward has been released from his contract with Harding Steinbrenner Racing after just one IndyCar race.
O’Ward made a startling IndyCar debut with what was then Harding Racing at the Sonoma finale last year, qualifying fifth and finishing ninth.
It was then announced that he and his Lights team-mate Colton Herta would be the driver line-up for an expanded two-car full-time HSR line-up in 2019.
But it later emerged that the team’s deal with Honda – which it had switched to from Chevrolet at the end of the season – was for just one full-time engine lease and another for the Indianapolis 500 only.
On Monday O’Ward announced that his relationship with HSR is now over.
“The Harding Steinbrenner Racing team supported my decision to seek a new opportunity by releasing me from my contract and allowing me the opportunity to find a new team before the start of the 2019 season,” he said.
“Now I am fully focused on finding the right opportunity and how I will use my scholarship from Indy Lights for 2019.”
IndyCar’s official ‘spring training’ pre-season test takes place at Austin on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Much of the field participated in a group test at Laguna Seca last week, in which Max Chilton was fastest for Carlin ahead of Ganassi’s new signing Felix Rosenqvist.
HSR did not participate in that test.