Pato O’Ward has said he hopes he can get more running in for McLaren next year after taking part in the FP1 session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday.
The Mexican driver featured alongside seven other different faces in FP1 at the Yas Marina circuit, as teams sought to fulfil their obligation to field rookies twice in official F1 sessions this year.
Indeed, McLaren used Alex Palou back at the US Grand Prix and gave the opportunity to O’Ward for this weekend, with him overcoming an early issue with the car to get some laps in.
That gave him a taste of driving an F1 car in a competitive session and it’s clear it’s something he liked, with him saying after his run that he would love to get the opportunity again in 2023 if the chance arose.
“You can definitely count that I’ll be in Zak’s ear, maybe Andreas a little bit – ‘Hey, when can I get in the car again?’ – but it’s hard to tell, because it kind of all moulds together once my season is finishing in IndyCar,” he said to F1’s official website when asked about future opportunities.
Indeed, he mentioned IndyCar which he is obviously a part of and expanded on that point, saying that that does make it a little harder to find a window in which he could potentially drive the 2023 McLaren at an F1 session:
“It’s such a compressed [season] from May… to September – it’s non-stop. So I don’t know what to tell you; it’d be fantastic to get some running in before the IndyCar season, but I think it’s all up to the big bosses, you know.”
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 18: Pato O’Ward of Mexico driving the (28) McLaren MCL36 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 18, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
O’Ward got 22 laps in during FP1, with him clocking the 18th fastest time as he got to grips with the MCL36 during the hour-long run.
He’ll be watching on with intrigue this weekend, meanwhile, as McLaren aim to reel in Alpine in the fight for fourth in the Constructors’ championship.
With a 19 point deficit, though, that will be a tricky task to achieve indeed.
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