The McLaren Racing Formula One announced on Friday that NTT IndyCar Series drivers Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward will make their Free Practice debuts for the Woking-based outfit over the coming weeks.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Palou, driver of the No.10 NTT DATA Honda will be on track for next weekend’s United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Speaking about the news, Palou who won the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series championship commented saying:
“I’m so excited to be making my F1 weekend debut. 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.”
Pato O’Ward, driver of the No.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet will make his Free Practice debut with McLaren at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which takes place from November 18-20.
Speaking following the announcement, O’Ward said:
“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.
Palou and O’Ward were at the Red Bull Ring in Austria earlier this week testing the MCL35M as part of the Testing of and Old Car Programme.
Speaking about the upcoming outings for Palou and O’Ward, McLaren Racing Formula One Team Principal Andreas Seidl said:
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.”