Red Bull junior programme shaken up again as Marko cuts 'potato' O'Ward
Patricio O'Ward has become the latest young talent to be cut from Red Bull's junior programme.
The 20-year-old Mexican won the Indy Lights title in 2018 and has raced in IndyCar, Formula 2 and Super Formula this year.
His switch to the Japanese open-wheel series came after he was drafted into the Red Bull fold, following Dan Ticktum's release earlier this year.
Ticktum had been under Red Bull's guidance for over two years, but a poor start to the Super Formula season saw him released, despite testing for Red Bull's F1 team earlier this year.
In his place at Team Mugen, O'Ward took a sixth-place finish in Okayama, after scoreless outings in Fuji and Motegi, seemingly not enough to impress Dr Helmut Marko, whom O'Ward claims would refer to him as "potato".
The Mexican told Racer: "My release from Red Bull was going to be November, but Dr. Helmut Marko called and said, 'Hey you have options in IndyCar, take it. That’s your future'. I really appreciated him doing that.
"It showed me the calibre of person that Dr. Marko is and why he has so much success. Huge respect for him and whole team. He cared about my future, that means a lot."
O'Ward is reportedly a target for McLaren's IndyCar team, which will enter the series next year.
His Super Formula seat will be filled by Juri Vips for the final round of 2019. The Estonian finished fourth in FIA Formula 3 this year, with three race wins to his name.
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