Alex Palou and Pato O'Ward set for FP1 debuts

Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward set for FP1 debuts

October 15, 2022

British Formula One team McLaren have announced that their IndyCar drivers Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward will be making their Formula One Free Practice 1 debuts at the United States Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix respectively.

Palou will be filling in for Daniel Ricciardo at the US Grand Prix, while O’Ward will drive Lando Norris’ car at the 2022 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

By running both of their young drivers in FP1 sessions, McLaren will fulfil their obligation of giving two young drivers practice sessions as per the Sporting Regulations. The two drivers tested McLaren machinery last year. 

Alex Palou commented:

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 added:

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.

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren Formula One team, said:

We’re pleased to give Alex and Pato the opportunity to take part in free practice 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 1’s global stage, where the focus will be to help the team prepare for the race weekend and not on ultimate lap times.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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