McLaren boss Zak Brown claims that Pato O’Ward wouldn’t be able to join the F1 team anytime soon because of the stable drivers’ lineup.
IndyCar sensation Pato O’Ward, a highly rated prospect, currently represents McLaren in the competition. The 22-year-old has been among the names in the United States who may get a shot in F1.
However, McLaren boss Zak Brown thinks that O’Ward wouldn’t be able to land his spot in their F1 team anytime soon. The biggest reason behind this decision is the stable lineup of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
Norris recently was rewarded with a five-year-long new contract extension. Thus, McLaren sees a long future with Norris before going to the 2022 season. On the other hand, Brown feels Ricciardo has at least a couple of more years under his belt.
“Right now, we don’t have a seat available. Lando is under a very long-term contract, so that seat is done. Daniel, we have another couple years with him,” said Brown, according to Jenna Fryer from AP.
The duo of Norris and Ricciardo was impressive in 2021, especially when they secured the only P1-2 performance in 2021 by a team. Though, Ricciardo had his own fair shares of downs last year.
However, McLaren believes that the Australian would manage to turn around his fortunes with the Woking-based team.
McLaren eyes progress in 2022
This week, McLaren joined for the Barcelona testing, where the team had shown some promises for the 2022 season. By the end of three days, Norris extracted fourth-best lap timing.
Top times from testing in Barcelona ⏱ pic.twitter.com/naLLXdEGHn
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) February 25, 2022
The Woking-based team still looks significantly behind Mercedes and Red Bull and marginally inferior to Ferrari. But the new regulations intended to increase competition in 2022.
No hope for the championship in 2022
Brown has been clear about his team’s progress. He doesn’t think that they have the chance of winning a championship in 2022, despite the new regulations.
He mentions that his team is technically not as equipped as the other three teams. Nevertheless, he feels that his time will have its time in 2024, where they would make advancements to be a championship contender.
Last year, McLaren had stiff competition against Ferrari. And this year, also it seems that the Italian outfit will be engaged with McLaren in a battle for the P3.
Now, it remains to be seen for how long McLaren will manage to keep its upward trajectory which the team has been operating since 2019.