Indy Lights champion O'Ward eyes wins in first IndyCar season

Indy Lights champion Patricio O'Ward believes if he and Harding Racing can "put everything together" then he can be challenging for wins in his first IndyCar season

Indy Lights champion O'Ward eyes wins in first IndyCar season

The 19-year-old Mexican caused a sensation when he made the 'Fast Six' pole shootout in qualifying for his IndyCar debut at this year's season finale at Sonoma.

Although he then struggled to manage his tyres over the race stints, he recovered to finish ninth, and was soon confirmed at Harding alongside fellow rookie and Indy Lights team-mate Colton Herta for the 2019 season.

In an interview with Julia Piquet for Motorsport.TV, O'Ward said his goal for next year was "just to be smart" - but believes wins are ultimately achievable.

"I've proved that I'm fast, I've proved that I'm deserving of being there," he said.

"Sonoma was great just to get a feel of what IndyCar is and to get a feel for what it is to drive with professional drivers.

"I feel next year is going to be a very, very big learning curve for me.

"Learning the tyre and getting used to pitstops and those long races, getting that down and having those perfect every race.

"And obviously start refining all the little driver errors that I might do and just put everything together.

"And then I think we're going to be challenging for wins and podiums."

Harding's expansion to a two-car team for the full season has been achieved via a tie-up with Andretti Autosport partner Steinbrenner Racing, which gives the squad significantly more resources.

O'Ward played down the fact that he and Herta form an all-rookie line-up, having both made their IndyCar debuts at Sonoma.

"It's going to be a little hard for us because we're both rookies, so we're both pushing each other and learning from each other but we don't have a veteran to learn from," he admitted.

"But I think we'll be OK. It's just another racecar, it's a little bit quicker, a bit more downforce. You just have to adapt whenever you're changing cars.

"We'll be fine. We're going to be fighting for a good amount of top fives. I think we're going to have the car to do it and I honestly can't wait to get started.

"If you're confident in your abilities and you know what you're doing it shouldn't be a problem to fight with [established IndyCar stars]. They're obviously beatable.

"Is it going to be easy? No. But I think having the confidence to do it, having the car to do it, knowing you have the tools to do it makes it far easier."

shares
comments
Ex-Force India boss Bob Fernley to lead McLaren IndyCar project

Previous article

Ex-Force India boss Bob Fernley to lead McLaren IndyCar project

Next article

IndyCar boss Mark Miles encouraged by talks on 2020 Australia race

IndyCar boss Mark Miles encouraged by talks on 2020 Australia race
Load comments
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Plus

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, he explained his tactics

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Plus

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after edging past Alex Palou on the penultimate lap of a thrilling race that validated Michael Shank's faith in the veteran Brazilian - who is discovering that there is life after Penske after all

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard? Plus

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 27, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Plus

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there?

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Plus

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals Plus

How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals

Colton Herta's dominant IndyCar win on the streets of St. Petersburg confirmed what rivals have long-suspected - that the second-generation racer is destined for stardom. But it was Herta's comments afterwards that gave perhaps the most interesting insight into a driver that will be around for a long time to come

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival? Plus

How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? DAVID MALSHER-LOPEZ investigates Palou's potential

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

IndyCar
Apr 16, 2021