Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo don’t view the likes of Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta as threats but see them as potential Formula 1 competitors in future.
McLaren boss Zak Brown promised O’Ward a run in the Abu Dhabi F1 test after the end of the season if he wins his first IndyCar race for Arrow McLaren SP this year, while Herta’s victory at St. Petersburg has put his name in the frame for a future seat. With Brown a fan of both IndyCar drivers, Norris isn’t worried about them being threats at McLaren but wants to see what O’Ward could do in an F1 car.
“It would be cool to see Pato anyway in a Formula 1 car and I wish them and the American side all the best in trying to win some races and so on,” Norris said when asked about O’Ward and Herta by RACER. “It would be cool to see someone jump from an IndyCar to Formula 1 and see the differences. I’m sure some things are maybe easier and some things are probably a lot more difficult and very different, so it would be cool.
“Pato… I don’t think it’s one of our (testing) days let’s say — isn’t it the rookie test that the rookie has to do anyway? Well they can take Daniel’s away, I’ll still do my days!
“I don’t think we see them as a threat — we see them as competitors and they’re some of the best guys in the world, some of the best drivers in the world.
“We’re confident with where we are, but I think it would just be more exciting to see Pato in a Formula 1 car because he’s quite a character, so it would be a good bunch of fun to see.”
Far from being concerned about what O’Ward could do in a McLaren, Ricciardo — who watched some of last Sunday’s race at St. Pete — is hoping the Mexican could help him get out of his own testing duties.
“I’m celebrating — I don’t want to do the end of season test so that’s awesome, I’m stoked!” Ricciardo said. “Please, take it. After 23 races the last thing you want to do is a post-season test, so I would love to give someone the opportunity, so there you go!
“No, I don’t see them (IndyCar drivers) as threats; I see them as competitors, for sure. I saw some of the laps of the race last weekend, and it was cool. The street circuit is so bumpy and it looks fun, and the level is high, absolutely, there’s no denying that. Are they extremely talented? Absolutely. So if somebody wants to have a few laps in Abu Dhabi then you’ve got my blessing!”