After his December test in Abu Dhabi, Zak Brown says McLaren will analyze Pato O’Ward’s chances of joining Formula One.
This season, the Mexican impressed driving for the British team in IndyCar, narrowly losing out to Alex Palou for the championship.
His exploits have earned him a chance to drive the team’s Formula One car, after he and Brown bet before the season began that he would be able to do so if he won a race.
Brown has been linked to a more permanent transition to the sport, and while he is considering it, he wants to see how the 22-year-old performs in his test in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year.
“We’ll see after he drives the car in Abu Dhabi,” Brown said as per the Dutch branch of Motorsport.com.
“Drivers always have the ambition to drive in Formula 1, but I think we have to wait and see how it goes in Abu Dhabi.
“We have to wait and see the developments in IndyCar, but also in F1 to see if there is an opportunity in the future. This is important. We all focus on our task and don’t think about what might or might not happen.
“The best way to get to F1 is to do what [Jacques] Villeneuve and [Juan Pablo] Montoya did in IndyCar, I told him. Then we will see what happens.”
In Formula One, McLaren and Ferrari are now embroiled in a close battle for third place in the Constructors’ Championship, which appears poised to go down to the final few rounds.
As a result, Brown and his team would not consider allowing O’Ward to drive in a practice session in place of Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo during his home country’s race weekend.
“We would never do that,” said the CEO.
“We wouldn’t be able to use a driver in free practice because firstly he starts the weekend with no goal.
“It would be news in Mexico and good publicity, but we always want to perform optimally and using another driver would have an effect.
“We are in the middle of a big battle with Ferrari for third place among the constructors. We are not going to do anything that could stand in the way of that fight, that much is certain.”
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