Agustin Canapino

Canapino to miss this weekend’s IndyCar race after social media row


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Agustin Canapino will step down from his seat at Juncos Hollinger for this weekend’s IndyCar race following the row over comments he made on social media.

It follows McLaren’s announcement yesterday they had terminated their partnership with Canapino’s team due to “actions that occurred earlier this week on social media” following the collision between the driver and Theo Pourchaire. The two teams formed their alliance eight months earlier.

Juncos Hollinger said in a statement today Canapino is “taking a leave of absence” this weekend. Nolan Siegel will drive his car in Road America.

“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,” said the team.

“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.”

Canapino, the team mate of former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean, impressed on his debut in IndyCar last year. However his vociferous fanbase have been accused of abusing drivers he has been involved in incidents with.

Pourchaire said he was the subject of death threats after he collided with Canapino during last weekend’s race in Detroit. In response, Canapino criticised those who attacked Pourchaire but also cast doubt on whether he had received death threats and suggested his rival should have ignored those who abused him. Canapino was also accused of endorsing some abusive messages sent to Pourchaire.

Juncos Hollinger co-owner Brad Hollinger said “online abuse is unacceptable and we need to ensure that our drivers are prepared both mentally and physically when they get in the car.”

“We are saddened by the events that led to this scenario,” he added.

The team added it is “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.” It has not indicated whether Canapino will return for the next race at Laguna Seca in two weeks’ time.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Canapino to miss this weekend’s IndyCar race after social media row”

  1. Facepalm.

    This is so disappointing… But he’s not a blameless victim. Those declarations by him ended up haunting him, as expected. I don’t know what he was trying to do there…

    I’m sad because he had all in favour to make this indycar experiment sort of a fairly tale, coming from no where, with no experience, not even the language, and making it sort of work. He had flashes of speed and both indy 500s were very good.

    But you have to be intelligent inside and outside the cockpit.

    1. That’s an excellent comment you made, thanks for posting it.

    2. It’s understandable to a degree. He’s probably aware that he’s bringing new fans with him to Indycar, and perhaps even feels himself somewhat representative of them. To then speak up for what he might see as ‘his fans’ is not wrong as such, but it seems he misunderstood and then mischaracterized the nature of the abuse that went around. That’s probably why it’s better to stick to positive platitudes, and avoid getting involved in the details.

      1. MichaelN, you seem to be working from the premise that this was an isolated incident, but this was in fact the third time that some of those calling themselves Canapino fans had been involved in harassing and abusing other drivers within a 14 month window. Indeed, part of what drew more ire towards Canapino was that he was retweeting a joke that compared the abuse being directed towards Pourchaire to the abuse that had been directed towards Callum Ilott last year.

        Furthermore, the argument that “he misunderstood and then mischaracterized the nature of the abuse that went around” is not really credible when some of his fans, as a way of bragging about what they were doing, were sending him screenshots of the abuse they were sending Pourchaire.

        Given the previous incidents, which Canapino himself was referencing with some of his social media posts, and that some of his fans were sending him evidence of them harassing Pourchaire, it is rather difficult to believe that Canapino could have easily “misunderstood” the nature of the abuse being directed at Pourchaire.

  2. So, it seems that a special kind of ‘fans’ is not only active in/around the F1 circus. So sad that this kind of behavior seems normal daily bussiness for some people, i cannot even call them real racefanatics but just a kind of hooligans that thrives on what hooligans do.

  3. Huge weekend for Nolan. I’ve read he’s still gonna race IndyNXT and do the double!

  4. Canapino and Juncos need to make much stronger statements to their crazed fans to stop the abuse.

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