McLaren Racing has named Pato O’Ward, its leading NTT IndyCar Series driver, as an official reserve driver for its Formula 1 program.
O’Ward has earned four IndyCar wins and 20 podium visits in 72 races, and with his ongoing role as a test driver for the McLaren F1 program, his formal appointment as the team’s reserve for either Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri is a natural progression for the 24-year-old from Mexico.
“Pumped to take on this new role within the McLaren Racing family,” said the 2018 Indy Lights champion. “I’ve spent a lot of time with the F1 team, having driven previously in free practice and taken part in a few tests.”
Having received full endorsements for the promotion from McLaren CEO Zak Brown and team principal Andrea Stella, O’Ward returns for another FP1 outing this weekend in Abu Dhabi at F1’s season finale as a precursor to a busy 2024, when he’ll have 17 IndyCar races to contest in the No. 5 Chevrolet and be on standby for grand prix weekends.
“I’ve always said it’s never a bad day when you get to jump into an F1 car, so I look forward to joining the reserve driver pool for next year alongside my driving duties with Arrow McLaren,” he said. “Thank you to Andrea and Zak for this great opportunity.”