O’Ward: ‘I’d be lying’ to deny interest in future F1 move

Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward says he'd “be lying” if he denied interest in a future switch to Formula 1 ahead of his maiden test in Abu Dhabi.

O’Ward: ‘I’d be lying’ to deny interest in future F1 move

O’Ward will take part in the post-season F1 test at the Yas Marina Circuit in December after winning a bet with McLaren chief Zak Brown by scoring his first IndyCar victory in Texas earlier this year.

To prepare for his F1 test, O’Ward visited McLaren’s UK base in Woking last week, completing three days in the simulator and undergoing a seat fit in the MCL35M car.

While his focus remains on IndyCar for the short-term, O’Ward conceded that a possible future F1 switch was on his radar should the opportunity arise.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t,” O’Ward told Autosport in an interview at the McLaren Technology Centre.

"Every kid grows up with the same dream, and that same dream is always Formula 1. And if they say it was something else, it’s a lie, because it’s Formula 1.

“Right now I’m so focused on doing the most perfect job that I can in IndyCar. I want to give this team the championship that they deserve. I want to give them an Indy 500.

“And in the future, if it’s something that fits with both of us, of course I’d take a drive in Formula 1.

"Because it’s Formula 1, man! It’s the top of the top in terms of technology and they are the fastest race cars in the world.”

Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP

Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP

Photo by: Arrow McLaren SP

O’Ward ended the IndyCar season third in the drivers’ championship, scoring a second win in Detroit and taking three pole positions.

He entered the Long Beach season finale still in contention for the title, only for damage sustained in a first-lap collision to end his hopes of beating Alex Palou.

O’Ward felt that he and McLaren had “done so much already” together in IndyCar, and that while he had plenty more to achieve in the United States, he was excited by the prospect of success in other areas of the team's racing projects.

“Once we achieve all of those goals, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to bring those same objectives or goals to their European side,” O’Ward said.

“It’s definitely a dream that I want to win the championship in IndyCar. I want to win the 500. Later on, if it’s something that fits both of us, that elusive world championship win. At the end of the day, I feel it would really complete our relationship.

“That’s in a perfect world, that’s my chart. I want to win everything together with McLaren.”

Read Also:

McLaren is currently the only F1 team that has an active involvement in IndyCar that would allow for any potential crossover between the two projects. O’Ward said he felt “so grateful to be in the position that I am in”.

“From an IndyCar side, we were very close this year to winning the 500, and we were very close to winning the championship, so it’s definitely within grasping distance,” O’Ward said.

“And who knows in the future, maybe I stay in IndyCar for the rest of my career? Or maybe I come in a couple of years to Formula 1?

“It wouldn’t be just to experience it. If I do the switch, I’m coming to win and compete. Just like I told everybody in IndyCar, ever since the first year. I understand we didn’t get our first win, but we were there fighting for wins, and we got many podiums.

“I’m too competitive just to be like, ‘oh, it’s cool’. No, I want to be one of the top dogs in anything that I’m doing, because that’s just the nature of us, the nature of me and of the team.

“That’s the one goal that everybody puts in so many hours for and so much sacrifice. That’s definitely what is on my bucket list.”

Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP

Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP

Photo by: Arrow McLaren SP

O’Ward spent some time during his visit to McLaren looking at the team’s old cars, including the 2012 McLaren MP4-27 that he saw Lewis Hamilton race to victory in Canada at his first live motorsport event.

“My first ever race, any IndyCar or Formula 1 race, that was the first one, Montreal 2012, where Lewis won,” O’Ward said.

“I’ve been a huge McLaren fan forever. It’s really cool that I get to drive for them now, and I have my little bits and pieces in part of the legacy of building on it. That’s really exciting to me.”

shares
comments

Related video

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?
Previous article

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Next article

Ex-F1 driver Hulkenberg to make IndyCar test debut with Arrow McLaren SP

Ex-F1 driver Hulkenberg to make IndyCar test debut with Arrow McLaren SP
Load comments
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022