McLaren F1 chief Zak Brown had recently unveiled in an interview that McLaren have been eyeing Palou and O’Ward as their potential future F1 drivers. Palo, the 25-year-old Spaniard, won IndyCar with McLaren last season, while O’Ward, a 23-year-old motorsport driver from Mexico, had been the 2018 Indy Light champion.
Palou and O’Ward had laid their footprints into MCL36 paddles for the first time in the US and Abu Dhabi respectively.
McLaren’s Brown said Palou and O’Ward have Formula 1 potential
Meanwhile, speaking of Palou and O’Ward, Brown said in an interview with a media outlet over the weekend, “The testing programme is very important,” Brown said.
“Pato, our IndyCar sensation has now won a handful of races for us. We have an obligation in Formula 1 to run two free practice ones and we want to put in drivers that we think have F1 potential. You never know what’s going to happen and what you might need.
We also want drivers that can help us develop towards that weekend. We put Pato in and then Alex Palou, who is an IndyCar champion. He did a fantastic job, he’s also done quite a bit of testing. You never know if a driver is going to get Covid, you need reserve drivers.
We think those are two drivers that are in the McLaren family that have tremendous potential. So we want to give them good mileage and see what the future holds”. Both Palou and O’Ward took a test with McLaren earlier this year, while mostly they had had free preparations.