McLaren have announced Patricio O’Ward will join its reserve driver ‘pool’ for 2024, with the IndyCar star continuing his work in the series Stateside next season.
The 24-year-old Mexican finished fourth in this season’s IndyCar standings with seven podiums to his name, and will be heading into his fifth season with McLaren’s sister IndyCar squad next year.
He will now combine that with official Formula 1 reserve duties, now he qualifies for an FIA Super Licence.
Pato O’Ward joins McLaren ‘pool’ of reserve drivers
O’Ward has now taken part in several TPC [testing of previous car] days at McLaren alongside FP1 sessions, and will get back behind the wheel for the team this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
He will take part in FP1 at Yas Marina on Friday before the post-season test after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend concludes.
Team principal Andrea Stella said: “The McLaren Formula 1 Team are pleased to welcome Pato O’Ward to our pool of reserve drivers for the 2024 season.
“Pato had an impressive season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and has performed well in his Driver Development tests, so it felt natural to take this next step now he’s eligible for an FIA Super Licence.
“With the expansive calendar, it’s prudent to ensure we have a wide pool of drivers that we can call upon if required. We look forward to seeing him progress in this new role.”
O’Ward himself added: “Pumped to take on this new role within the McLaren Racing family.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with the F1 team having driven previously in free practice and taken part in a few tests.
“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.
“Thank you to Andrea and Zak for this great opportunity.”
McLaren are continuing legal action against former reserve driver and current IndyCar champion, Alex Palou, who the team say reneged on his agreement to join them and are currently suing him for a reported $23million in damages.