F1 test drive up-for-grabs in latest McLaren bet

Henry Valantine
Patricio O'Ward, Zak Brown, F1

Patricio O'Ward will test for McLaren F1 team in Abu Dhabi.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has offered IndyCar driver Patricio O’Ward the chance to test an F1 car at the end of the season – if he wins this year in the States.

O’Ward drives for Arrow McLaren in IndyCar – the sister team to McLaren’s F1 operation – and the 21-year-old Mexican is looking for his first win in the series, having finished on the podium four times.

In a video clip posted on Arrow McLaren SP’s Twitter feed, O’Ward walks into a motorhome to find Brown sat there waiting for him.

“So I got an idea,” Brown said. “You’ve already got a third [place], you’ve already got a second, so if you win one, I’ll talk to Andreas [Seidl, McLaren’s F1 team principal], we’ll put you in the F1 car at the end of the year after Abu Dhabi – but you’ve got to earn it.”

A “let’s gooo” followed from O’Ward, who added: “I’ll get you your win, hopefully multiple wins – that would be good.”

O’Ward started on pole and set the fastest lap of the IndyCar opener in Alabama at the weekend, but could only manage P4 in a field that contained six former F1 drivers including Romain Grosjean on his Indy debut, as well as Takuma Sato, now a two-time winner of the Indy 500.

This bet follows Brown’s similar promise to Daniel Ricciardo that if he finishes on the podium he will be able to drive Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s famous 1984 Chevrolet Wrangler, with the former NASCAR driver being a long-time inspiration for the Australian – as well as Earnhardt’s race number being one of the reasons Ricciardo drives with the number 3 on his car.

If both drivers win their respective bets, Brown will have a fair bit of organising to do to ensure he honours those wagers at the end of the year.

We’ll wait and see if O’Ward and Ricciardo are able to deliver the goods for their teams this season…

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