Patricio O’Ward will race his first EL1 for McLaren F1 in Abu Dhabi. Like Alex Palou in Austin, the IndyCar driver will discover the Grand Prix free practice program and the MCL36 after a few runs in the previous single seater.
“I won’t believe it until I get in a car that does EL1s and when I do I can tell you what it’s like” O’Ward said. “I’m very, very grateful for this opportunity and everything that Zach has given [Brown] brought.”
“I’m really enjoying every second I spend behind the wheel of the car. I think it’s going to make me better. And I’m confident in my abilities. So I’m not worried about it.”
“I just think it’s going to make me perform better and it’s going to make him better. So I think it’s going to make both of us stronger. Ultimately, I think it’s going to make me stronger and better in all areas.” . It’s just going to help me, so I’m all for it.”
“I think it will be great. There are a lot of guys I raced with when I was younger, so I don’t think it will be a big shock. McLaren will give me the race plan. Come the weekend.”
“They’re looking for help for the weekend, they want this drive to not just be useless. They want it to be useful for them in qualifying and preparation and everything. So I’m looking forward to helping the team. I’m enjoying it as much as I can and when I can.”
“I am very satisfied with my progress”
O’Ward admitted he struggled to adapt to Formula 1 in his first session in Spain, but admitted he was pleased with the progress made during the private test days in Barcelona and Spielberg.
“I was really happy. It was a bit difficult for me in Barcelona. I wasn’t really in sync with the period. But the team was very happy with my performance. I think it was more of a personal feeling.”
“But in Austria I used everything I learned in Barcelona and I got to a really nice place, I adapted to the car a lot more. I think the best way to explain it is with more fuel, less fuel.”
“So I’m really happy with my progress so far. I think the team has responded to those comments and I feel like we’re really happy with how things are going and yes, we’re really excited for my EL1s at the end of the year.”
End the “difficult” year well
Pato O’Ward won two races this year but finished seventh in the IndyCar championship, a long way from third in 2021. The Mexican suffered many setbacks and admitted that it was not an easy season.
“I think you need to focus on knowing at the end of the weekend or the end of the year that you gave it your all and gave it your best. And every time I don’t do that. I’m the first person to blame myself for maxing out something.”
“And that wasn’t what I was doing, especially in the middle and end of the year. I was still positioning myself to have good races and be in contention, but things were going bad. And at some point, you have to laugh. just shut it down and move on.”
“Because there’s no reason to dwell on it, because it’s really out of your control. So I think the most important thing is to focus on what you can control and make the most of it. And, you know, if things fall into place. , they’ll line up. If not, you’ve got to move on.”
“I feel like I’ve grown and matured, especially with contracts and meeting new people and all those things that make you grow as a person, as a professional. I feel like that’s what happened this year.”
“I think there was a lot of noise and I’m very proud of how quickly I was able to calm it down, put my head down and put us in a position to compete for the championship. That’s the start of the year. Not necessarily the best, just in all aspects, just it was very confusing.”