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Pato O’Ward warns that he could leave Arrow McLaren SP at the end of the year and does not know if he will try in F1

The third date of the series is hardly going to run indy car and the Mexican pilot Duck O’Ward he looks restless and with an uncertainty that he had not seen before regarding his team Arrow McLaren SPHe even says that he could leave it at the end of the year.

Pato O’Ward, a young man from Monterrey who was third in the last Indycar championship and who, moreover, after winning a couple of races, earned the right to test the McLaren of Formula 1, now he talks about how he is not so sure of his team’s intentions and perhaps it would be better for him to change the scene.

“My contract ends in 2024, but there are things that can happen this year that I can end up elsewhere,” said Patricio O’Ward in an interview for ESPN awarded at the Arrow McLaren SP trailer in Long Beach, where the third of 17 dates of the 2022 Indycar season will take place from April 8-10.

Will there be a time when they can upgrade you, when the season ends in F1, coincides with Austin, Mexico? Do you already know something that you can get on the new F1?

“I would love it, of course I would love it. Right now there is nothing on the table about that. They are not going to raise me without me signing something, so until I sign something I know that it is zero feasible.”

Do you mean to sign a renewal or a contract that binds you to the F1 team?

“I think that both of them, that is, at the end of the day it is something that they use and can use like a sphere, like a carrot. I’m honest, I think that if you had asked me before December or in December I would have said yes Right now, I really don’t know what to think.”

Does your contract run out this year?

“No, my contract ends in 2024, but there are things that can happen this year that I can end up elsewhere. But I am in contract with them until the end of ’24.”

Is there an exit clause?

“Yes”.

ON HERTA’S SIGNING WITH McLAREN F1 AS A RESERVE

The general opinion after Pato O’Ward is a McLaren driver and tested in Abu Dhabi is that he is the first in line to have a starting opportunity at the Woking team in Formula 1, but the English team surprised by signing as a driver to Colton Herta, something that obviously did not please the Mexican.

“What I can do is do my job, to the best of my ability with the things they give me to be able to do the job. But what many people have to grasp is that Colton (Herta) and I are in the same series, we’re not in the same position, we’re not on the same stage and we don’t have the same tools and I don’t have to tell you what happened when we did have the same tools,” said Pato O’Ward who competed against Herta at Indy Lights in 2018 category both with the Andretti team. The Mexican won the title and nine races, while Bryan Herta’s son was second and won four.

“I can’t focus on that, of course I would love to, I want to beat everyone, but the position I’m in is different from the one he’s in. His entire Indycar career has been in a car that is capable of be champion, not me.

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The Mexican driver said that he will not go up to test the McLaren MCL36 in Formula 1 if he does not have something signed that links him to go up to the Maximum Category

“We are in a competitive car, but there is a difference when a car is competitive and a team that is ready to be champion. I say that we can be champions, but it will take work and it takes time and it takes development, and the fans, people have to understand that the position he is in is very different from the one I am in,” he added to explain why he does not feel that he competes against Herta.

The Mexican went even further by assuring that he could win races in F1 now and that he takes as a reference the one he has run with some current drivers and has beaten them.

“Do I have the talent to be winning in Formula 1? Yes. I do have it and I know I have it, because I have raced with many of those who are there and I have beaten them, the point is that it is different how I have developed and how they have developed, they have been in Europe they have had very different opportunities than mine and I have had very different opportunities in the United States. So it is difficult, it is really difficult, but if the opportunity comes, I am more than ready” , said.

HE RECOGNIZES THAT THE F1 SUBJECT HAS DISTRACTED HIM AND HE HAS MADE ERRORS

In the last year a lot has been written and talked about whether Pato O’Ward will be the next Mexican driver in F1, but that issue, the Mexican driver admits, has distracted him and he believes it has been the cause of his mistakes.

“To be very honest, it’s because there has been a lot of noise, it’s inevitable, but it has been a distraction and I don’t make mistakes, I don’t make mistakes and I don’t expect that from myself. And yes I have been distracted, yes it has distracted, because it’s not just ‘hey, it’s a possibility,’ but I don’t have to explain to them what has come out in the media, that will distract, no matter how strong you are mentally, it will distract you,” said Patricio O ‘Ward, who also has Indy Lights champion on his resume.

To try to regain concentration and calm, Pato O’Ward made a trip with his friends and closest people after the Texas race and now feels ready to enjoy his moment in Indy Car.

“I feel in a much better situation mentally, I mean, I needed it because I didn’t have a chance to disconnect in the ‘offseason’ because of the Formula 1 preparations, I spent two or three months preparing and go there and I kind of have to do (…) because OK is F1, but being in Indycar is cool and it is the dream of many others too. There are many who would cut off a leg or cut off an arm to be in my position, and we have to be grateful for that,” he added.

INDYCAR TOUGHEST IN 2022, BUT SEES ITS STRENGTH ON THE OVALS

In an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses that he estimates he has in 2022 with the Arrow McLaren car, Pato O’Ward does not hesitate to divide his scope by the type of tracks that remain in the season.

In his opinion, their weak point is the permanent circuits like Portland and Road America, they can defend themselves in street circuits like Long Beach and their strength will be the ovals, in particular he believes that they will have a good opportunity in the Indianapolis 500.

“I believe that our package is stronger on the ovals, I feel that I have the best packages there than any other,” said the driver who drives the number 5 car in the most important formula car series in America.

There are at least 15 drivers who can win races in 2022, O’Ward said, which makes the campaign very difficult, but for starters he knows he needs a good result at Long Beach.

“Obviously we are here to win, but a good result does not mean nothing more than winning. A podium, a Top 5, something good, a good result in this category is to be among the first five this weekend, to take flight,” he explained. .

O’Ward sees positives in the combination of a Dallara car and a Chevy engine that he has this year, as well as in the work of his team.

“We’re in the same position as last year, there’s no reason why we can’t fight for the championship. Regarding the car, it’s the same, the biker has improved a lot, that makes us quite happy and motivates us to, ok, to really we are all rowing towards the same place, but it is difficult, it is very competitive, I think that this weekend (in Long Beach) is one of the tightest tracks on the calendar, I think there will be 25 cars within 8 tenths “, he pointed.

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