Arrow McLaren SP expects to have a major piece of its long-term strategy resolved before the green flag waves at the Indianapolis 500. Team boss Zak Brown confirmed that, as RACER reported last week, AMSP’s Pato O’Ward is on target to sign a new contract that would extend his tenure with the team.
“We’re in great shape with Pato,” the McLaren Racing CEO told RACER. We have a good understanding; we want to race together for a long time. And so while there’s no pen on paper yet, we have a mutual understanding. It’s fairly imminent — weeks, not months, that we’ll have a new relationship in place. I’m quite excited about it.”
The double race winner, who joined AMSP in 2020, is in line for a raise that reflects his status as a front-running talent in the NTT IndyCar Series and the addition of at least one year to his existing commitment with the team that would keep the Mexican in place through at least 2025.
With O’Ward’s new contract being finalized, AMSP’s Felix Rosenqvist is next on the list. The Swede is in the midst of completing his two-year deal with the Chevy-powered team, and according to Brown, there’s less urgency to follow one driver negotiation with another. The McLaren CEO also wants to see how the winner of 2020’s Road America Round 2 race continues to rebound after a deflating debut with AMSP in 2021.
“He has started strong, but unfortunately, the results haven’t been there,” said Brown of Rosenqvist. “But he’s had some issues that were no fault of his own. So he’s off to a great start and ended last year pretty strong. He’s out of contract, but we want to see how he goes. I think we all know last year was a pretty big disappointment. We didn’t give him the world’s greatest car at times. And he also didn’t put the results on the board that I think we’re all expecting.
“Then he had Detroit, where he was super strong until he had a mechanical failure [and consequent heavy crash] and then he misses a race. So, we definitely want to see what he what he can do this year and he’s definitely on the table. It’s probably more of a mid-year thing because we want to see him get some more races under his belt.”
Decisions are also coming with who will driver AMSP’s third full-time entry that’s due in 2023, and in another IndyCar-related topic involving a driver, Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, who signed a Formula 1 testing and development contract with McLaren Racing, has newfound clarity on when and where he’ll pilot last year’s McLaren MCL35-Mercedes.
“Yes, we’ve now got a plan installed for Colton,” Brown said. “That’s up to [McLaren F1 team principal] Andreas Seidl to communicate that outwardly when he’s ready to communicate it. But yes, we have a plan.”