Zak Brown says Pato O’Ward’s quickest way of getting himself into Formula 1 will be to win the NTT IndyCar Series title as the Mexican continues to be linked with the move.
O’Ward was a two-time winner in IndyCar with the Arrow McLaren SP team in 2021 and tested a McLaren F1 Team car for the first time during the post season young driver test after Brown offered him the chance if he was to take his car to victory lane last year.
And Brown, the CEO of McLaren, says O’Ward will find his way into Formula 1 faster if he follows in the footsteps of the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya, Alex Zanardi and Jacques Villeneuve by winning the IndyCar title before making the switch over to Formula 1.
“That’s exactly what I told him. The quickest way to F1 is to go and do what Juan Pablo Montoya or Alex Zanardi or Jacques Villeneuve or Michael Andretti did – go win in IndyCar,” said Brown to Motorsport.com.
“That will be your best chance of getting into F1.”
Brown says that the twenty-one-year-old O’Ward is ‘unbelievably talented’ and he believes the Mexican has what it takes to be a success in Formula 1. And should he get there, he will learn quickly and show the Formula 1 fans just what he can do.
“He’s unbelievably talented,” added Brown. “He’s a great personality. I think he’s got what it takes from a raw talent point of view to be a Formula 1 driver.
“Obviously Formula 1 is a much different discipline so he’s got a lot to learn, with all the buttons for example. But for sure he will [learn]. He needs to stay very focused on IndyCar. It will be his best route into F1. I think his [two-year] timeline is about right.”