Pato O’Ward has been told he will get to test a McLaren Formula 1 car at the end of this season if he wins an IndyCar race this year.
The Mexican was part of the Red Bull driver academy briefly in 2019 but was released to return to IndyCar as he was deemed to not have enough points for an FIA Super License at the time, and duly joined Arrow McLaren SP. After securing pole position for the season opener at Barber today, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has offered O’Ward (pictured above) an incentive of a drive in the Abu Dhabi F1 test at the end of the season.
“I’ve got an idea,” Brown said. “You’ve already had a third, you’ve already had a second, so if you win one — I talked to Andreas (Seidl) and we’ll put you into the F1 car at the end of the year after Abu Dhabi.
“But you’ve got to earn it.”
O’Ward replied: “Let’s goooooo! I will get you your win, or hopefully multiple wins, that would be good.”
Brown has a habit of making bets with his drivers this year, after promising Daniel Ricciardo a test in a classic Dale Earnhardt NASCAR that he owns when he scores his first podium for McLaren in F1. Ricciardo finished sixth at Imola today, as Lando Norris picked up the first podium for the team this season with third place.
F1 hosts a tire test at the end of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit using current machinery, usually carried out over multiple days but last year reduced to one day with two cars per team due to the impact of COVID on the season.