Pato O'Ward. (Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski Photo)

O’Ward Named Reserve Driver For McLaren F1

ST. CHARLES, Ill. — Thanksgiving Day is not celebrated outside of the United States, but Thursday morning’s announcement for McLaren Formula 1 has given Pato O’Ward reason to be thankful.

The 24-year-old, who drives for Arrow McLaren in the NTT IndyCar Series, was named the Formula 1 reserve driver for McLaren F1 on Nov. 23. 

O’Ward received his FIA Super License after reaching the points threshold at the end of the NTT IndyCar Series season.

“The McLaren Formula 1 team are pleased to welcome Pato O’Ward to our pool of reserve drivers for the 2024 season,” McLaren F1 Team Principal Andrea Stella said. “Pato had an impressive season in the NTT IndyCar Series and has performed well in his Driver Development tests, so it felt natural to take this next step now he’s been granted his FIA Super License. 

“With the expansive calendar, it’s prudent to ensure we have a wide pool of drivers that we can call upon if required. We look forward to seeing him progress in this new role.”

O’Ward joins the team’s pool of reserve drivers during the 2024 season, along with his current driver duties with Arrow McLaren. He will participate in Free Practice 1 and the post-season test at this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as part of his progression within the McLaren Driver Development program.

“Pumped to take on this new role within the McLaren Racing family,” the Monterrey, Mexico, native said. “I’ve spent a lot of time with the F1 team, having driven previously in free practice and taken part in a few tests. I’ve always said it’s never a bad day when you get to jump into an F1 car, so I look forward to joining the reserve driver pool for next year alongside my driving duties with Arrow McLaren. 

“Thank you to Andrea and Zak Brown (McLaren Racing CEO) for this great opportunity.”

O’Ward started racing at age six and has been part of the McLaren Racing family since 2020 when he joined Arrow McLaren. O’Ward has taken part in several MCL35M Driver Development tests, as well as driving in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Young Drivers test and in free practice at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

McLaren Racing was founded by racing driver Bruce McLaren 60 years ago in 1963.

The team entered its first Formula 1 race in 1966.  Since then, McLaren has since won 20 Formula 1 World Championships, 183 Formula 1 grands prix, the Indianapolis 500 three times and the Le Mans 24 Hours in its first attempt.

McLaren Racing competes across five racing series.

The team competes in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship with McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, the IndyCar Series with Arrow McLaren drivers O’Ward, Alexander Rossi and David Malukas, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with NEOM McLaren Formula E Team drivers Jake Hughes and Sam Bird, and the Extreme E Championship with NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team drivers Emma Gilmour and Tanner Foust. 

The team also competes in the F1 Sim Racing Championship as McLaren Shadow, having won the 2022 Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships.

McLaren is a champion for sustainability in the sport and a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action Commitment. It is committed to achieving net zero by 2040 and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture in the motorsport industry.