O’Ward racked up his first two IndyCar wins and 4 different podium in 2021, taking the battle to eventual champion Alex Palou all the way down to the final spherical of the season.
Sadly his #5 Arrow McLaren SP automobile was tagged on the hairpin by Ed Jones on the finish of the primary lap of final Sunday’s Grand Prix of Lengthy Seaside, spinning O’Ward to the again of the sphere.
It’s doubtless the injury 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 end result that we wished right here in Lengthy Seaside. We’ve had an ideal season: getting our first win, including one other win on prime of that, and being on the pole a number of instances.
“The complete Arrow McLaren SP group has loads to be pleased with. Subsequent yr, we’ve got an ideal baseline to begin from and we will probably be able to battle for an additional title.”
Brown echoed the positivity of his driver, commenting: “It was an ideal 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 ideal persona. And clearly a star within the sport.”
Brown stated that when the group 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 anticipate 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 automobile management he has is spectacular and he’s very courageous,” stated Brown, “however however he can have a number of feelings if issues do not go his approach. That is one thing that comes with youth – emotion and aggression.
“Typically it’s a must to let the race come to you, however I believe that is one thing that have and time provides you.
“However I would quite need to sluggish a driver down than ask him to hurry up. It’s potential to handle his enthusiasm. That is one thing that comes solely with a little bit of time and expertise and belief with the group in a race.”
Patricio O’Ward with Arrow McLaren SP president Taylor Kiel and Zak Brown.
Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images
O’Ward’s F1 take a look at gained’t be preceded by Mexican GP observe run
Brown killed off the rumors that O’Ward, who already has the factors for an FIA superlicense, may get an FP1 run in his house grand prix in Mexico Metropolis subsequent month, driving the automobile of both Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo.
He dominated out the likelihood because of two elements – the necessity to correctly put together the Mexican driver, and likewise the McLaren group’s battle with Ferrari for third within the Constructors’ championship.
“We’d by no means do it,” stated Brown. “We would not be capable of run a driver in free observe as a result of, first, he comes into the weekend with out a objective.
It might be information in Mexico, nice publicity, however we are going to at all times make sure that we lead with what’s optimum efficiency, and placing one other driver in both automobile would have an impact.
“We’re in the midst of an enormous battle for third within the championship with Ferrari and we can’t do something to compromise that battle, that is for certain.”
Brown shouldn’t be closing the door on O’Ward in the future being thought of for a swap to Components 1, though he says there are numerous elements that might affect the choice, such because the contracts of his present drivers in addition to the Mexican’s adaptation to an F1 automobile in December’s younger driver take a look at that follows the season finale.
“We’ll see after he drives the automobile in Abu Dhabi,” he stated. “He is targeted on IndyCar and needs to remain and could be very targeted on that. Clearly drivers at all times have an aspiration to drive in Components 1, however I believe we’ve got to see the way it goes in Abu Dhabi.
“We additionally need to see how issues develop in IndyCar and we additionally need to see how issues develop in Components 1 to see if there would even be a possibility sooner or later. I believe that is essential.
“All of us concentrate on the job at hand and do not get into occupied with what might be and what could not be. As I advised him, one of the best ways to get to Components 1 is to do what Villeneuve or Montoya did within the IndyCar championship. Then we’ll see what occurs.”