McLaren, a few months ago, seemed to promise a destiny in F1 to Pato O’Ward, its IndyCar driver; or at least, Woking helped to maintain this hope.
But wreckage: the imbroglio Piastri revealed to O’Ward that instead of drawing from the vast pool of McLaren drivers, the F1 team would prefer to hire a driver from Alpine, Oscar Piastri.
It is undoubtedly a snub for O’Ward, as for Herta or Palou, other pilots of the orange group.
For O’Ward, as he told ESPN, this sounds like the end of the F1 illusions. Without resentment?
“It doesn’t do me any good to have this illusion. To that extent, I feel like I’ve matured in that the illusion is a very distant illusion, because even though I have a very, very high level, what I have is not with this you will be able to convince them [chez McLaren]. »
“There are a lot of other things and politics, there are a lot of things that are out of my control, that I can never control, and so I have to leave it at that, because there is no point in embrace this illusion. »
O’Ward reacted with irony and good humor to the news of the Piastri case, posting a message with a popcorn emoji. What should you see there?
“I felt like sorry, and that post was a laugh. I see this and I laugh. ‘Cause, I don’t know, that same goal [accéder à la F1] was offered to many pilots, and sooner or later there is only one « dessert », there are not five. »
« So I only thought of pure laughter, the truth is that there have been so many things that have changed and changed and changed again… I’m coming to the same point, so why stress? » »
“The truth is that since the beginning of the year, I have put an end to this idea [la F1] and I stopped thinking about it, because this idea excites you, which is why everyone wants to leave everything they have for this illusion. But I’m a smart man, I’m not stupid and I know how things happened, but I don’t have much to say in this situation and it doesn’t help me to have this illusion. I love Indycar, I want to grow this championship, I want it to go to Mexico, I want it to go global, I want to help it continue to grow because it has huge potential. »
« Right now you can’t present me with something realistic for a Formula 1 seat, because you don’t have seats, they’re already gone. »
Did McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown ever promise O’Ward an F1 car? Will the latter slam the door of the McLaren lap in response?
« Yes, (Zak told him about an F1 contract) but the IndyCar season is right now, I’m with this team, it’s not like I can say ‘I finish this and I’m ‘I’m going to do something else’. I can’t leave anyway, he signed me to his Indycar team, and if he wants to put me in a Formula 1 car, he can put me in a Formula 1 car. »
McLaren offered O’Ward Free Practice 1 in exchange this year, probably in Austin or Mexico. Will that be enough to calm his biting irony?
“Which would suit me, because this McLaren bucket is already reserved, the only thing that suits me is that they give me these EL1s, that’s the only thing that suits me, the fact of driving [pour des essais privés] doesn’t suit me at all. The truth is, I’m not interested in putting the energy and effort into just going around in circles. »