Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar racer Pato O’Ward will return to Formula 1 action in Abu Dhabi in November.
Each Formula 1 team must run a rookie—someone who classifies as having started fewer than two races—in two practice sessions this year, with each regular racer sitting out one session. McLaren only has one of these sessions to complete, as rookie Oscar Piastri technically satisfied the rulebook when he participated in practice in Bahrain.
McLaren had earmarked IndyCar champion Alex Palou for the FP1 session but his decision not to join the squad for the 2024 IndyCar season, which has prompted legal action from McLaren, has opened the door for O’Ward. The Mexican racer participated in the young driver test at the Yas Marina Circuit in 2021 and also took part in the corresponding practice session at the same venue in 2022.
O’Ward’s long-term Formula 1 chances are limited given that current McLaren racers Piastri and Lando Norris are locked down on multi-year deals.