IndyCar drivers Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward have been handed FP1 run chance by McLaren during the F1 US GP and Abu Dhbai GP.
After a long wait, McLaren has confirmed its drivers for the two FP1 sessions that are mandated by the FIA for young drivers to run. The team were hoping to get Oscar Piastri in, but Alpine weren’t to release him to get a taste of his future F1 outfit.
In the meantime, McLaren ran the likes of Jehan Daruvala, Colton Herta, Palou and O’Ward under their TPC programme. From among them, the latter two IndyCar drivers have earned the chance to undertake FP1 running in the coming F1 weekends.
Palou will kick-start it during F1 US GP where he will replace Daniel Ricciardo, while O’Ward will sit for Lando Norris in Abu Dhabi GP. Both have had multiple running in the MCL35M at multiple circuits and are tuned to how McLaren run.
“I’m so excited to be making my F1 weekend debut,” said Palou. “It’s great to be driving in the United States in front of fans that may have seen me race in INDYCAR. Having driven the 2021 McLaren MCL35M in a few tests now, I can’t wait to put the MCL36 through its paces. I look forward to helping the team in their preparation for the 2022 United States Grand Prix.”
Meanwhile, Palou added: “I can’t wait to get out on track in Abu Dhabi. I’ve developed as a driver and had a lot of fun testing last year’s car with the team, so it will be a great experience to drive the MCL36. Thank you McLaren F1 for the opportunity.”
And team boss Andreas Seidl added: “We’re pleased to give Alex and Pato the opportunity to take part in free ptactice sessions with McLaren. With Alex’s great successes in INDYCAR, it will be useful for the team to get his feedback on the car and for us to continue to evaluate him as a driver.
“Alex and Pato impressed with their recent tests in Barcelona and Austria and we’re excited to offer them the experience in the MCL36. It’s a great chance for them to showcase their skills on Formula One’s global stage, where the focus will be to help the team prepare for the race weekend and not on ultimate lap times.”
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