Red Bull won’t fund Patricio O’Ward’s IndyCar seat this season if the Mexican is unable to retain his Carlin drive.
O’Ward signed a deal to run upwards of 10 races for Carlin this year, driving the team’s No. 31 entry. But after a heavy crash during practice for the Indianapolis 500 – followed by a failure to qualify for the race itself – O’Ward is now needing to raise more funding to complete that program.
The 20-year-old was named part of the Red Bull Junior Team in May, and RACER understands he was set for a reserve driver role at Toro Rosso until problems arose regarding his FIA Super License. As it stands, the FIA has not given O’Ward the required Super License to race in F1 – in part due to the Indy Lights championship he won last year not having enough full-time drivers to be eligible – and so that plan is on hold.
RACER has now learned that Red Bull will not fund the remainder of O’Ward’s IndyCar program this year if he doesn’t raise the required backing elsewhere. Red Bull-funded drivers have tended to race in either Formula 2 or Japan’s Super Formula as the final step before F1.
O’Ward will be present at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Saturday and is scheduled to meet with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to discuss next steps. It is understood O’Ward does have the 25 Super License points required for a Free Practice 1 license, which would allow him to take part in a future Friday session at a grand prix. The most obvious event would be his home race in Mexico, which takes place between October 25-27 following the end of the IndyCar season.