Zak Brown says McLaren will assess the potential of Pato O’Ward joining Formula 1 after his Abu Dhabi test in December.
The Mexican impressed driving for the British outfit in IndyCar this season, only narrowly being beaten to the title by Alex Palou.
His performances have earned him a chance to drive the team’s Formula 1 car, with him and Brown making a bet before the start of the year that he could so if he won a race.
He has often been linked with a more permanent switch to the sport, and that’s something brown is open to, but he first wants to see how the 22-year-old does 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.”
— Arrow McLaren SP (@ArrowMcLarenSP) September 26, 2021
In F1, McLaren are currently locked in a tight fight with Ferrari for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, and it looks set to go down to the final few rounds.
Because of that, Brown and co wouldn’t consider letting O’Ward drive in a practice session in place of Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo during the race weekend in his home country.
“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.”