McLaren have revealed that Pato O’Ward, a member of their Driver Development Programme, will be taking part in the first Free Practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit during the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Mexican will replace Lando Norris and get behind the wheels of the MCL60.
This is set to be O’Ward’s second FP1; he drove in the FP1 session at Abu Dhabi last year as well.
O’Ward recently had yet another strong NTT INDYCAR SERIES campaign as he finished in the top four with seven podiums.
McLaren team principal, Andrea Stella, has also confirmed that O’Ward will also be driving for the team in the end-of-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit, which is set to place after the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP.
Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, said:
“We are checking with the FIA, we think he’s eligible now for a super licence. So he’s qualified to drive a Formula 1 car and be in a position to be one of the [McLaren] reserve drivers.
“In terms of the two main events that would have involved either Alex or Pato, they are to do with one more session of free practice one where we have to have so-called young drivers, who are drivers that haven’t participated in more than two races. Then we have the post-Abu Dhabi test. Initially, these kinds of events would have been split between the two but obviously now in this situation, we will have Pato at the wheel in free practice one in Abu Dhabi. “I can confirm that he will also be driving the Tuesday after the race in Abu Dhabi. Therefore, we look forward to having Pato in P1 and in the test.”