McLaren F1 Boss Offers IndyCar’s Pato O’Ward the Easiest Possible Route to F1

Published 10/17/2021, 3:47 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 30, 2021 McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


McLaren are one of the fewest teams on the grid to enjoy a very commendable driver’s line-up this season starring Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Both have delivered enough for the British outfit, including a clinical 1-2 finish at the Italian Grand Prix.

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However, here’s something interesting! McLaren are already starting to hunt for the next heir to either Norris or Ricciardo’s throne. And it’s none other than the 2021 IndyCar championship contender, Pato O’Ward.

The Mexican is currently driving for Chevrolet of Arrow McLaren SP and hanging onto P3 in the driver’s standings, only behind Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden. And it isn’t shocking that O’Ward is interested in competing in F1. In order to do so, McLaren F1 boss, Zak Brown, has offered the easiest route possible.

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What did the McLaren F1 boss say?

As reported by Motorsport, Brown opined that O’Ward must follow Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve’s footsteps to secure a seat in Formula 1. To clarify the statement, O’Ward must win the IndyCar Series this season.

We also have to see how things play out in IndyCar and we also have to see how things play out in Formula 1 to see if there would even be an opportunity in the future. I think it’s important,” he said.

We all focus on the work we have in our hands and we do not think about what could be and whatnot. As I have told you, the best way to get to Formula 1 is to do what Villeneuve did or Montoya in the IndyCar championship. Then we’ll see what happens.

What next for O’Ward?

The IndyCar driver will be taking part in the upcoming young driver’s test at Yas Marina Circuit following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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Hence, as of now, Brown revealed that O’Ward’s possible F1 debut depends on how he performs in the UAE after the final showdown this season.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 9, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris during qualifying REUTERS/Umit Bektas

We’ll see after he drives the car in Abu Dhabi. He’s focused on IndyCar and I want him to stay very focused on it. Obviously, the drivers always have an aspiration to drive in Formula 1, but I think we have to see how it goes in Abu. Dhabi,” he said.

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Overall, the recent Free Practice rule-change will come as a blessing to the Mexican. If O’Ward does manage to perform well in the upcoming test, there is a significant chance that he could receive more such opportunities during practice sessions in 2022.

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Rohit Kumar

1444 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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