until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Canapino skips IndyCar race in latest abuse saga twist

by Josh Suttill
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Agustin Canapino will miss IndyCar's Road America weekend due to the "growth of online abuse and harassment", continuing an extraordinary week of events.

Canapino is taking a "leave of absence" and will be replaced by Nolan Siegel at Juncos Hollinger Racing.

"The growth of online abuse and harassment resulting from the events of this week have led to a very difficult experience for Agustin, the team and the entire IndyCar fan base, and the safety of Agustin and the rest of the competitors has to be considered first and foremost," a statement from the team read.

"Abuse, hatred, and harassment in any form is a detriment to this sport, and we must prioritise the mental and physical wellbeing of both our drivers and our competition."

Brad Hollinger, co-owner of Juncos, said the team must ensure its drivers are "prepared both mentally and physically when they get in the car" and said they're "saddened by the events that led to this scenario".


Jack Benyon

It feels like this whole situation might have torn Juncos Hollinger Racing in two.

It might not be a 50/50 split in terms of numbers, but there seems to be a definite divide between those who want to work harder with others and acknowledge that death threats are not acceptable in any circumstances, and those with Canapino’s view. 

He says he hasn’t seen any of the death threats, that he shouldn’t be held responsible for these threats, and that he gets them all the time and simply ignores them.

There are people in the team who’ve wanted to do more to appease the situation after Canapino’s own statement plus some ill-judged tweet-liking angered people and made the optics of the situation worse.

They’ve just struggled to emerge from the crisis management as the leading voice. It would be unfair to criticise the organisation as a whole because there are some people trying hard to do good things and continuing to do so.

The statement announcing Canapino would be stepping away came with a quote from JHR’s biggest benefactor and co-owner Brad Hollinger. The person who brought Canapino to IndyCar and shares his nationality, team owner Ricardo Juncos, has remained quiet personally.

It feels like Juncos and/or Canapino coming forward and urging their fanbase to stop this would carry a lot of weight with their compatriots and might have saved the McLaren relationship and Canapino’s position in the team at Road America, too.

This situation would be difficult for any team to handle and perhaps any team would have differences in opinion over how to handle it, too. 

Hollinger stepping in feels significant for me, as he’s someone so important to the team, and this situation likely has ramifications for him. Having your name on the door of a team that has been vilified can’t be what he set out to do when he came over from Williams in F1. 

Although the death threats have happened before, this specific incident will likely change this team forever.


Canapino was hit by McLaren driver Theo Pourchaire in Detroit last weekend, a mistake that Pourchaire apologised for after the race. 

That didn't stop Pourchaire from reportedly receiving over 20 death threats on social media in the wake of the incident, leading to a joint statement from then-partners McLaren and Juncos on Monday, condemning the abuse.

One day later Canapino called it an "outrageous" and unfounded accusation against his fanbase and said he hadn't seen a "single death threat" aimed at those who claimed to have received them.

But two days later McLaren took decisive action by severing - with immediate effect - what is essentially a commercial partnership with Juncos, which it entered into late last year. Juncos subsequently released a short statement accepting that decision.

Alongside the announcement that Canapino would be stepping aside for Seigel, the team said it was "working directly with IndyCar to create a better community for our fans, drivers and team members, uniting to make IndyCar a welcome sport for all".


Siegel should make his second championship start of 2024 on Sunday, having finished 20th in Long Beach for Dale Coyne before failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 - where he was the only driver bumped on his first Indy 500 weekend, but was praised by McLaren boss Zak Brown and considered as a stand-in if Kyle Larson had needed to leave for his clashing NASCAR race before the Indy 500 was complete.

The 19-year-old has made a strong start to his second full-time Indy NXT season as one victory and two other podiums currently leaves him third in the championship. He do double duty at Road America and race in NXT as well as IndyCar.

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