Pato O'Ward shuts down hopes of an F1 seat
With McLaren building up its squad of drivers, indycar talent Pato O'Ward is confident a move to F1 will not be happening.
With McLaren now seeming to be adding Oscar Piastri to their driver lineup, the drivers strategy by the papaya team seems to be growing foggier. The previous hopes of a move to F1 from the Arrows McLaren SP Indycar team now diminishes for the star Pato O'Ward. Finishing 62 points behind 2021 Indycar champion Alex Palou, getting 3rd in that years standings, had an impressive run at the title, with this 2022 season being an unfortunate one for him, only standing in 7th with mechanical issues plaguing him for the past 2 years.
Now looking at the current state of McLaren in Formula 1, Pato, in an interview with ESPN, says "I feel like I've matured. It's a very distant illusion, because even if I drive at a very high level, what I do, it's not going to convince them." O'Ward has claimed multiple wins and pole positions over his Indycar career, impressing the outfit and opting to keep him for the distant future. It seems like although the Mexican will not be seeing an F1 debut for a while, if at all, he will be doing extremely well in the racing series he knows well.
But not all is lost for O'Ward with being included in Formula 1, as he is still one of McLarens free practice testers, being an option for the team. With new F1 regulations requiring rookies and young drivers to be in a teams car for at least one practice session, it is likely we can see the Mexican in a car for a free practice session this season. For Pato he would prefer to have a turn in the MCL36 in either Mexico or Austin, citing his larger fanbase in those areas as the reason for the chosen locations.
The Monterrey native is not distraught on the loss of an opportunity to race in F1 though. "I love IndyCar, I want it to grow, for IndyCar to go to Mexico, for it to go global. I want to help everyone continue to develop because the championship has huge potential." And while the opportunity for a seat in F1 is very tempting for O'Ward, he sets his sights on growing the American racing series and sticking with it for quite a while