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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

2021 was an excellent season for O’Ward regardless of title loss

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O’Ward racked up his first two IndyCar wins and 4 different podium in 2021, taking the battle to eventual champion Alex Palou right down to the final spherical of the season.

Sadly his #5 Arrow McLaren SP automobile was tagged on the hairpin by Ed Jones on the finish of the primary lap of final Sunday’s Grand Prix of Lengthy Seashore, spinning O’Ward to the again of the sphere.

It’s doubtless the harm he incurred within the impression was what pressured him to retire in a while, and he would slip to 3rd within the last standings, behind race runner-up, Penske’s two-time champion Josef Newgarden.

Later, O’Ward would say: “Clearly, that was not the consequence that we needed right here in Lengthy Seashore. We’ve had an excellent season: getting our first win, including one other win on high of that, and being on the pole a number of occasions.

“The complete Arrow McLaren SP group has quite a bit to be happy with. Subsequent 12 months, we’ve an excellent baseline to start out from and we shall be able to battle for an additional title.”

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Brown echoed the positivity of his driver, commenting: “It was an excellent season, he’s clearly one of many quickest drivers in IndyCar. It is nice to work with him, as a result of he is a really passionate driver, very quick, very courageous and an excellent persona. And clearly a star within the sport.”

Brown mentioned that when the group determined to rent him on the finish of 2019, they knew O’Ward’s potential, so seeing him within the battle for the highest spots within the championship was not a complete shock.

“I in all probability did not anticipate it, as a result of even final 12 months he was fourth within the championship, so we knew it was a matter of time till he began profitable races. I am very impressed with the season he is had. I wasn’t anticipating it, however I am not stunned.”

He did say, nevertheless, that O’Ward has room for enchancment for the 21-year-old Mexican to make him a extra full competitor.

“The automobile management he has is spectacular and he’s very courageous,” mentioned Brown, “however however he can have quite a lot of feelings if issues do not go his method. That is one thing that comes with youth – emotion and aggression.

“Generally it’s a must to let the race come to you, however I feel that is one thing that have and time provides you.

“However I would reasonably must sluggish a driver down than ask him to hurry up. It’s attainable to handle his enthusiasm. That is one thing that comes solely with a little bit of time and expertise and belief with the group in a race.”

Patricio O’Ward with Arrow McLaren SP president Taylor Kiel and Zak Brown.

Photograph by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

O’Ward’s F1 check gained’t be preceded by Mexican GP follow run

Brown killed off the rumors that O’Ward, who already has the factors for an FIA superlicense, may get an FP1 run in his residence grand prix in Mexico Metropolis subsequent month, driving the automobile of both Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo.

He dominated out the likelihood on account of two elements – the necessity to correctly put together the Mexican driver, and in addition the McLaren group’s battle with Ferrari for third within the Constructors’ championship.

“We might by no means do it,” mentioned Brown. “We would not have the ability to run a driver in free follow as a result of, first, he comes into the weekend with out a goal. 

It might be information in Mexico, nice publicity, however we’ll at all times be certain that we lead with what’s optimum efficiency, and placing one other driver in both automobile would have an impact.

“We’re in the course of an enormous battle for third within the championship with Ferrari and we cannot do something to compromise that battle, that is for certain.”

Brown isn’t closing the door on O’Ward in the future being thought-about for a swap to Components 1, though he says there are a lot of elements that would affect the choice, such because the contracts of his present drivers in addition to the Mexican’s adaptation to an F1 automobile in December’s younger driver check that follows the season finale.

“We’ll see after he drives the automobile in Abu Dhabi,” he mentioned. “He is targeted on IndyCar and needs to remain and could be very targeted on that. Clearly drivers at all times have an aspiration to drive in Components 1, however I feel we’ve to see the way it goes in Abu Dhabi.

“We additionally must see how issues develop in IndyCar and we additionally must see how issues develop in Components 1 to see if there would even be a possibility sooner or later. I feel that is essential.

“All of us concentrate on the job at hand and do not get into occupied with what could possibly be and what could not be. As I informed him, the easiest way to get to Components 1 is to do what Villeneuve or Montoya did within the IndyCar championship. Then we’ll see what occurs.”

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