Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz are both closely following McLaren’s progress in IndyCar, with Pato O’Ward sitting third in the drivers’ standings.
O’Ward picked up back-to-back podiums in the doubleheader at World Wide Technology Raceway, leaving him only behind Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden in the championship. Norris and Sainz were on a recent call with both O’Ward and his Arrow McLaren SP teammate Oliver Askew, and Norris says he watches as much of McLaren’s first full season back in IndyCar as possible.
“I keep a keen interest on it all,” Norris said. “The only thing that sucks is it’s always at like 2 a.m., so I have to be careful sometimes. I want to say that I’ve watched it but at the same time if people know I’m up at 2 a.m. on a race day it’s maybe not so good! I try and watch qualifying; obviously on ovals it’s not as interesting as a road course. I try and watch what I can. It’s just the time difference always makes it difficult.
“I’m happy for them. It’s good to see the improvements they’ve made as a team with Pato and Ollie this year. It’s good to see the results, with the podiums, Pato’s very strong weekend last weekend; hopefully they can continue that and live up to the expectation and promise that McLaren can do (well) in America.”
Sainz — speaking before the crazy race that saw him finish second to Pierre Gasly in Italy on Sunday — says he is attracted to the unpredictability of IndyCar, with so many teams capable of fighting at the front if they do a good job.
“Same as Lando, I keep an eye on it,” Sainz said. “We have (CEO) Zak Brown on the other side of the Atlantic keeping us posted, sending us messages, which is nice to see. IndyCar is a category that is quite exciting to watch — to see teams have very similar opportunities to other teams and getting it right with setup can put you at the front one weekend and at the back the other weekend, which is something I enjoy seeing and is a bit different to Formula 1.
“And I think McLaren has done a very strong job to just get themselves to be fighting for podiums very quickly. So a good job to everyone there and to keep pushing as we’re proud of them here.”