McLaren release statement as Theo Pourchaire receives death threats after IndyCar crash

Elizabeth Blackstock
Théo Pourchaire before the 2024 IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix

Théo Pourchaire at IndyCar's 2024 Detroit Grand Prix

On lap 60 of the chaotic IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix, Arrow McLaren driver Théo Pourchaire and Argentine racer Agustín Canapino made contact on a restart. Now, Pourchaire — only in his third race — has admitted to receiving “so much hate and death threats” as a result.

Pourchaire, current reserve driver for the Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber, is set to drive the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet throughout the rest of the IndyCar season after the car’s original driver, David Malukas, suffered a wrist injury that ended his 2024 campaign. It’s been a trial by fire for the French racer, and a run-in with No. 78 Juncos Hollinger racer Agustín Canapino, hasn’t helped.

During a restart, Pourchaire dove late into the tricky Turn 3, while Canapino assumed he’d be free to tuck in behind the No. 60 of Hélio Castroneves. Both cars ended up at the same point in the corner at the same time in what was ultimately a racing accident — albeit quite a silly one.

Little was made of the contact during the NBC broadcast, but on social media on Monday evening, Arrow McLaren was forced to issue a post on X pleading, “Arrow McLaren and @juncoshollinger will not tolerate any form of abuse or discrimination. Those participating in such actions are not welcome in our online community.”

Théo Pourchaire soon quoted the post to add, “I’m sad I received so much hate and death threats in the last 24 hours for such a small incident in the Detroit GP. I hope people can understand that we are all humans and we can make mistakes. But it’s not normal to abuse people online.. Please be kind to each other,” followed by two emojis.

Théo Pourchaire’s path to IndyCar

👉 F1 hopeful lands seat elsewhere after ‘disappointing’ 2024 admission

👉 Ex-Lewis Hamilton engineer highlights sidelined champion who ‘deserves’ F1 seat

👉 Theo Pourchaire’s IndyCar tale shines a spotlight on Formula 1’s greatest shame

It soon came to light that Pourchaire was facing a spate of angry messages from Canapino’s fan base. Canapino was a hugely popular touring car driver in his native Argentina before the Juncos Hollinger Racing team invested in IndyCar and brought the Argentine racer to the team. Since Canapino’s first IndyCar race in 2023, the driver has been involved in quite a few on-track incidents that have led his fanbase to tear down the competition.

In fact, Marshall Pruett of Racer reported last year that “social media attacks… from some of Canapino’s fans” directed at former Juncos Hollinger driver Callum Ilott after the Long Beach Grand Prix ultimately forced the Brit and his team to part ways. Similar attack rained down on Ilott at Laguna Seca later in the season, only reinforcing Ilott’s decision to leave when Juncos Hollinger refused to push back against the furor of the Argentine fans.

Further, in the aftermath of the Pourchaire/Canapino fiasco, fans began sharing a clip of team owner Ricardo Juncos calling Pourchaire what can be translated from Spanish as “the son of 1,000 whores” or “son of a bitch” in response to the crash.

The fallout is still ongoing, especially as Arrow McLaren’s X post about abuse raised further questions about what had happened between Pourchaire and Canapino for otherwise oblivious fans. Juncos Hollinger Racing has not yet made its own X post; previously, it has only publicly responded to one incident of Argentine fans attacking other drivers online.

Read next: Why the Detroit Grand Prix is the wrong race to capitalize on Indy 500 interest