McLaren cuts ties with Juncos after Pourchaire abuse

Even the Abu Dhabi Auto Racing League

The Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team has dropped Juncos Hollinger Racing as a strategic partner after McLaren driver Theo Pourchaire was subjected to online abuse by JHR fans and fans of its driver Agustin Canapino.

The two teams — with two of IndyCar's most popular drivers in Spanish-speaking markets in Pato Oard and Canabino — joined forces late last year in an attempt to capitalize on those fan bases primarily from a business perspective. There is no element of competition or sharing of any track data or equipment information in the deal.

Last weekend, Bourchaier's collision with a canapino during the Detroit Grand Prix led to death threats towards Bourchaier on social media in the aftermath.

This is the third time the driver has received death threats from JHR and Canapino fans following two instances involving team-mate Callum Ilott last year.

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

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

“As set out in the team’s Social Media Community Code, Arrow McLaren will not tolerate any form of abuse or discrimination and absolutely condemns online abuse directed at our team and driver.”

Following the death threats, McLaren and Juncos issued a joint statement on Monday – published by McLaren – with Bourchier also posting on social media to confirm the incident.

The next day, Canabino issued his own statement, saying that he “has not seen a single death threat directed at those who claim to have received these threats,” and that it is “outrageous” that his support base could be “accused of such disdain.”

McLaren has confirmed to The Race that it has screenshots of the threats made to Bourchier – said to number more than 20 – and several screenshots were shared with Juncos Hollinger on Monday. It's not clear if it was shared with Cannabino before he issued his statement.

Threats to Pourchaire were also verified by fluent Spanish speakers to ensure they were not poorly translated or misunderstood due to a language barrier.

Canabino and team president Ricardo Juncos – who likely has the most influence on the team's fanbase and so some sort of apology or urging the fanbase to not do it again would carry the most weight – have remained publicly silent on the matter since Canabino's statement, most likely Being one of the biggest reasons why McLaren cut ties with the JHR team.

Cannabino's statement was widely criticized online. In it, he also said that he chose to ignore the abuse and hate he received online, and also liked and responded to tweets that could be seen as making fun of 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.

This was clearly a difficult period for JHR, but while the team's communications department worked with McLaren to try to find a solution, team ownership and a driver whose fans were responsible for the silence as individuals ultimately caused further friction.

IndyCar itself took 17 hours from McLaren's original statement to issue a 47-word response to journalists who requested comment but did not share anything via their social media channels in the aftermath.

There appears to have been little consequence for people threatening Porcher after an on-track accident.


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