O’Ward racked up his first two IndyCar wins and 4 different podium in 2021, taking the battle to eventual champion Alex Palou right down to the final spherical of the season.
Sadly his #5 Arrow McLaren SP automotive was tagged on the hairpin by Ed Jones on the finish of the primary lap of final Sunday’s Grand Prix of Lengthy Seashore, spinning O’Ward to the again of the sector.
It’s probably the harm he incurred within the affect was what pressured him to retire afterward, and he would slip to 3rd within the ultimate standings, behind race runner-up, Penske’s two-time champion Josef Newgarden.
Later, O’Ward would say: “Clearly, that was not the consequence that we needed right here in Lengthy Seashore. We’ve had an awesome season: getting our first win, including one other win on prime of that, and being on the pole a number of instances.
“Your complete Arrow McLaren SP workforce has loads to be happy with. Subsequent yr, we have now an awesome baseline to start out from and we shall be able to battle for an additional title.”
Brown echoed the positivity of his driver, commenting: “It was an awesome season, he’s clearly one of many quickest drivers in IndyCar. It is nice to work with him, as a result of he is a really passionate driver, very quick, very courageous and an awesome persona. And clearly a star within the sport.”
Brown mentioned that when the workforce determined to rent him on the finish of 2019, they knew O’Ward’s potential, so seeing him within the battle for the highest spots within the championship was not a complete shock.
“I in all probability did not count on it, as a result of even final yr he was fourth within the championship, so we knew it was a matter of time till he began profitable races. I am very impressed with the season he is had. I wasn’t anticipating it, however I am not stunned.”
He did say, nevertheless, that O’Ward has room for enchancment for the 21-year-old Mexican to make him a extra full competitor.
“The automotive management he has is spectacular and he’s very courageous,” mentioned Brown, “however alternatively he can have a number of feelings if issues do not go his means. That is one thing that comes with youth – emotion and aggression.
“Typically it’s important to let the race come to you, however I believe that is one thing that have and time provides you.
“However I might quite must sluggish a driver down than ask him to hurry up. It’s attainable to handle his enthusiasm. That is one thing that comes solely with a little bit of time and expertise and belief with the workforce in a race.”
Patricio O’Ward with Arrow McLaren SP president Taylor Kiel and Zak Brown.
Photograph by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
O’Ward’s F1 take a look at received’t be preceded by Mexican GP follow run
Brown killed off the rumors that O’Ward, who already has the factors for an FIA superlicense, would possibly get an FP1 run in his residence grand prix in Mexico Metropolis subsequent month, driving the automotive of both Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo.
He dominated out the likelihood resulting from two elements – the necessity to correctly put together the Mexican driver, and in addition the McLaren workforce’s battle with Ferrari for third within the Constructors’ championship.
“We might by no means do it,” mentioned Brown. “We would not be capable of run a driver in free follow as a result of, first, he comes into the weekend with out a objective.
It will be information in Mexico, nice publicity, however we are going to all the time be sure we lead with what’s optimum efficiency, and placing one other driver in both automotive would have an impact.
“We’re in the course of a giant battle for third within the championship with Ferrari and we can’t do something to compromise that battle, that is for certain.”
Brown is just not closing the door on O’Ward in the future being thought of for a swap to System 1, though he says there are lots of elements that might affect the choice, such because the contracts of his present drivers in addition to the Mexican’s adaptation to an F1 automotive in December’s younger driver take a look at that follows the season finale.
“We’ll see after he drives the automotive in Abu Dhabi,” he mentioned. “He is targeted on IndyCar and needs to remain and could be very targeted on that. Clearly drivers all the time have an aspiration to drive in System 1, however I believe we have now to see the way it goes in Abu Dhabi.
“We additionally must see how issues develop in IndyCar and we additionally must see how issues develop in System 1 to see if there would even be a chance sooner or later. I believe that is essential.
“All of us deal with the job at hand and do not get into fascinated about what could possibly be and what could not be. As I instructed him, one of the best ways to get to System 1 is to do what Villeneuve or Montoya did within the IndyCar championship. Then we’ll see what occurs.”