Dixon: O'Ward is "one of the best guys on the track" in IndyCar

Newly crowned six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon said he was left highly impressed by Arrow McLaren SP's Patricio O'Ward in the Mexican's first full season in the series.

Dixon: O'Ward is "one of the best guys on the track" in IndyCar

The 2018 Indy Lights champion, O'Ward came into the season with just eight IndyCar starts to his name, having driven only half a season with Carlin in 2019 combined with select Formula 2 and Super Formula outings.

O'Ward's runner-up finish in Sunday's season finale at St Petersburg - separating Dixon from race winner Josef Newgarden - was his fourth podium finish of the year and earned him fourth in the championship.

It was announced before St Petersburg that O'Ward will remain with the team next year. He will be paired with a new team-mate, as Oliver Askew is not being retained.

"I'm pretty impressed with Pato, he did a hell of a job all year," Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dixon told Autosport.

"Actually, I need to talk to Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] again because I did say he should go with Pato, so I should maybe get some commission on that!

"Seriously, though, Pato's been superb and there's a lot of great talent there at that team."

One of O'Ward's most memorable moments was leading from pole in the second race at Road America's double-header where he led 43 laps, only for slightly excessive tyre degradation to cost him the lead to Dixon's team-mate Felix Rosenqvist two laps from the chequered flag.

As well as his speed on all types of track, one of the most impressive aspects of O'Ward's season was how few mistakes he has made.

"Yeah, that was pretty cool to see," agreed Dixon.

"I think that's what everyone expected. They said, 'Oh, he's fast but he's gonna crash too much', or, 'He'll make misjudgements that take people out in the races.'

"And that's just not been the case at all. I thought Pato raced everyone hard but respectfully all year.

"In fact, I'd say he's one of the best guys on the track in crazy situations like starts and restarts.

"He's hard but fair, gives you enough room, doesn't run you off the track.

"The team didn't always have the speed at every track, but Pato drove like a veteran - a very talented and quick one."

shares
comments
McLaughlin upbeat despite crash on IndyCar debut

Previous article

McLaughlin upbeat despite crash on IndyCar debut

Next article

Ex-F1 driver Ericsson extends Ganassi deal to remain in IndyCar

Ex-F1 driver Ericsson extends Ganassi deal to remain in IndyCar
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Patricio O'Ward
Author David Malsher
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020
How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season Plus

How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season

Three wins on the trot gave the Chip Ganassi Racing superstar the cushion he needed to hang on for a sixth title in the face of Josef Newgarden's late challenge. Here's the rundown of a typically frantic IndyCar campaign in an extraordinary year

IndyCar
Nov 28, 2020
The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy Plus

The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy

Calls for an improvement in the racing spectacle at the Indianapolis 500 have been met with small aerodynamic tweaks from IndyCar on superspeedways. But where such high speeds are involved, even minor adjustments require significant planning

IndyCar
Oct 31, 2020