Pato O’Ward is still in the future of McLaren; they see champion pasta

Zak Brown sees Pato O’Ward as a champion, and that’s why he wants him in his project; the pilot wants a better contract

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Duck O’Ward had the trajectory of his career under his control at the beginning of the season of IndyCar. Win the championship, he thought, and maybe get the super license he needs for the Formula 1.

However, he started the season upset about his contract with Arrow McLaren SP and it showed on the track. He was 12th in St. Petersburg. He went back to Texas as the defending race winner and finished 15th, including an accident in the pits with a team member.

He hit the wall at practice last week in Long Beach, extending an unwanted streak of three errors in three race weekends. Realizing that he needed to get out of his own head, Duck O’Ward he bounced back for a fifth place finish last weekend that seemed to bring some sense to the likable and popular Mexican driver.

“I know it’s not a victory, but we’ve had a very difficult start to the year. We will seize the momentum,” he said. Duck O’Ward. “There are 14 races to go, so there are a lot of them. I think we are going to do some good things in the next few competitions.”

The great hopes of McLaren for this season, the first as majority owner of Arrow McLaren SPthey immediately had a big bump in both the Formula 1 like in IndyCar just as the storied organization attempts to position itself as “America’s single-seater racing team.”

The brand McLaren has reinvented itself in recent years thanks to the involvement of young drivers, aggressive use of marketing and social media, and inventive content that gives fans a deeper insight into the team, its members and each race weekend .

Amateur polls in both F1 like in IndyCar show that McLaren has managed to win back the audience. McLaren was voted the most popular F1 team and lando norris she won as favorite driver among female fans, as well as among all female fans 25 and under. In IndyCar, Arrow McLaren SP tied for second with Andretti Autosport as the second most popular team; Duck O’Ward he is the most popular driver among female voters.

Therefore, there was enthusiasm around the team both in the USA like abroad at the beginning of the year, only to stumble at the start. the cars of F1 had problems until Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth last week in Australia, O’Ward had been a disaster until last weekend and Felix Rosenqvist he is still looking for consistency in his second IndyCar season with the team. Rosenqvist won the pole at Texas and started fourth at Long Beach, but his best finish this season is 11th at Long Beach.

But it is O’Ward’s story that hangs over the organization as the head of McLaren, Zack Browntrace the future of it. He acknowledged that the Monterrey native has a friendly contract with the team until 2024.

Zack Brown offered O’Ward a modified deal, but the pilot did not accept and also refused to sign a contract identical to the one he signed. Colton Hertha to test drive cars F1 from McLaren. O’Ward, who turns 23 next month, desperately wants to move up to F1 and wants a significant pay rise that will bring him in line with the best drivers in IndyCar. If McLaren can’t make it happen, then he would move to a team of IndyCar that can lead him to a championship.

Even if he gets another offer, Brown only has to match it at 75% to keep O’Ward at McLaren. And that’s where he wants his driver: winning races, fighting for a championship and helping build the McLaren brand in the USA Y Mexico.

To do that, Brown noted that O’Ward needs to “help us be more consistent and vice versa, the same thing we’ve seen from Lando in the Formula 1“.

“Just keep growing as a race car driver,” Brown said. “We all know that he is faster than anyone on the grid. So now it’s about us, him and Felix, working together to raise our average result. And that depends on us as a group.

McLaren before the 2020 season he joined IndyCar as a marketing partner for the team of sam schmidt Y Rick Petersonbut as majority owner as of this campaign, Brown wants McLaren’s hands throughout the organization.

He has planned a 100,000-square-foot facility in Indianapolis that will move the team out of the Schmidt building into a state-of-the-art one built largely around sustainability and renewable energy that will be similar to the F1 factory in McLaren.

Plans are underway for a full-time third seat in IndyCar next season with new cars and parts already ordered, and the hiring of approximately 25 additional employees.

It is rumored that alexander rossi signed a contract to leave Andretti Autosport and become the third pilot of McLaren the next season despite conflicting responses from all parties involved. At McLaren, Rossi would get a much-needed change of scenery and, as a former champion of the Indianapolis 500 Miles and winner of seven races, he would help the organization get its cars where O’Ward and Rosenqvist need them.

Brown is committed to building a championship team IndyCar Y Duck O’Ward is a very important part of that plan. The pilot may be unhappy but the team does not want to lose him.

“I wouldn’t want Pato to go to any racing team and have a void here, I certainly wouldn’t be too excited to let him go to another team,” Brown agreed. “We think he’s a championship-caliber guy, so let him run somewhere else … we have our guys, we invest in them, we take chances on them, we’re not going to give them away for no good reason and I can’t think of any.