At Barber Motorsports Park, Pato O’Ward scored his third IndyCar win and announced shortly thereafter that he would be renewing his contract with Arrow McLaren SP. Speculation about O’Ward’s future has been rife for months, as he reacted with outrage to news that Colton Herta will be testing a McLaren F1 car later this year. However, the chances of a potential split have faded and Brown recently confirmed a new deal is close to being signed. Speaking at the Miami Grand Prix opening ceremony, Brown told the media, “Our contract with Pato is imminent. We will work together for many more years. He’s done a great job at Barber,” said the McLaren CEO. “He’s a McLaren driver. It is up to Andreas Seidl to decide on the F1 side what testing options there are.”
“Due to the regulations, we are obliged this year to allow young drivers to drive twice in free practice,” said McLaren team boss Seidl. “We have started a process as to who we want to give the opportunity to sit in the car during the two sessions. We also have the opportunity to let them drive older generation cars. This is an opportunity for young guests to show them what you can.” in a real F1 car and it gives us time to finish them. Hopefully then the testing will follow and then we can make a decision on who will eventually get the training sessions. I just want to make it clear that our current driver line-up is good and we have faith in that. The use of other drivers only serves to comply with the regulations.”
Asked if Herta and O’Ward are serious options for McLaren’s F1 team, Seidl said: “We’ll look at that after the reviews. I think it’s important that they get a chance. It’s the one best possible approach so that they can.” show up in an F1 car,” continues the German. “There are great opportunities at the moment and we’re obviously excited to see who the next potential driver could be for McLaren in a few years.”
Despite his upcoming F1 test, Herta plans to become a driver for the new Andretti team in 2024. Michael Andretti is currently in talks with the FIA and other F1 teams to get the green light to participate on the grid. O’Ward has long had ambitions to be an F1 driver and last December he tested a McLaren MCL35M in Abu Dhabi.