New Arrow McLaren driver David Malukas suffered a fractured hand in a mountain biking accident last weekend. The third-year NTT IndyCar Series driver, who takes over the No. 6 Chevy, will have surgery on Tuesday.
The procedure’s outcome and its associated recovery time will determine whether the Illinois native will be able to compete for Arrow McLaren during the March 8-10 season opener in St. Petersburg, or if the team will need to ready itself for a replacement driver for the event.
Although the span of nearly one month between the surgery and the need for Malukas to drive at St Pete is encouraging, there’s a more pressing need for the 22-year-old to consider. Scheduled for February 26-27 at Sebring, Malukas would want to participate in the first tests for all drivers with the new-for-2024 hybrid chassis package, but it would come two weeks after surgery.
Most drivers got one day with the lighter chassis configuration in January at the Homestead-Miami roval, which runs without the energy recovery system that IndyCar says it will introduce in the summer, but the dedicated two-day test in the non-ERS package at Sebring — which better replicates a street course like St. Petersburg — is not one a driver would want to miss.
Based on the results and recovery forecast, Arrow McLaren will decide if it needs to prepare a stand-in for Malukas. Among the candidates, former Andretti Global IndyCar driver and Arrow McLaren reserve driver Zach Veach is expected to be in the mix.