Possible Formula 1 rookies: No. 3 – Pato O’Ward
Much like Colton Herta, Mexican IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward has been linked with a move to the McLaren Formula 1 team. He currently sits in fifth place in the championship standings, having won two races this season.
More notably, O’Ward recently inked a contract extension with Arrow McLaren SP through 2025, and this includes the opportunity for him to move to the Formula 1 team, according to Zak Brown.
It seems as if O’Ward and Herta are battling it out for the chance to take over Daniel Ricciardo’s seat in 2024, assuming Ricciardo and/or McLaren choose not to extend. Similarly, O’Ward has test driven a McLaren Formula 1 car in the past.
“I was mind-blown at what the car was capable of,” O’Ward said in a recent interview with Romain Grosjean.
He went on to say that the experience was “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in a race car.”
Strong results in the 2022 season combined with a charismatic personality have made O’Ward a fan favorite among McLaren fans. The name recognition could give him an edge over Herta for an open seat, but the commercial value that an American driver could bring to the team could sway Brown toward signing Herta.
Brown will be keeping a close eye on how the rest of the IndyCar season shapes out, because there is a real possibility that the driver who has the upper hand at the end of the season could turn that momentum into a Formula 1 seat with McLaren in the near future.