Patricio O’Ward, “It was a lot of fun” despite the unfortunate trouble / F1 Abu Dhabi GP 1st free run[F1-Gate.com]

McLaren IndyCar driver Patricio O’Ward made his Grand Prix weekend debut in the McLaren MCL36 after months of anticipation during the first free practice session of the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

However, as soon as Patricio O’Ward took to the track, his car experienced a problem and was ordered back to the pitlane in second gear. Fortunately, the problem was quickly rectified by the pit crew and O’Ward was able to return with relatively minimal delays. He ended up completing 22 laps in the one hour session.

“I was bouncing pretty hard in the car and I was just trying to communicate clearly with the team,” he explained after the session.

“I don’t know what that means because I don’t have much experience. I don’t think the team knew at the time either.”

“I went in the box and reset it and it seems to have fixed whatever the problem was.”

“It was such an exciting time to experience my first FP1 and I was like, ‘I really hope it doesn’t get cut short.'”

“I don’t know exactly what it was. I think it was something electrical, maybe a sensor or something.”

Patricio O’Ward is the second full-time driver to get the chance to drive a Formula 1 car for McLaren’s IndyCar team this year, while Alex Palou got his chance at the Circuit of the Americas.

Originally, Patricio O’Ward was scheduled to take a seat in his native Mexico, but had to change due to the rescheduled Pirelli tire test.

And Patricio O’Ward says he enjoyed the moment when it finally arrived.

“Today was a really fun experience. A few curveballs were thrown, which made things a little more difficult. It revealed a lot of information that wasn’t part of driving the car that I had to digest. ”

“But overall I feel that my first FP1 was successful. We have done a lot of testing for the team and hopefully that will help them a lot going into this weekend.”

“For me, every time I’m in the car, I think I’m improving, so next year I want to try one more time and keep improving.”

Patricio O’Ward ran the session in Lando Norris’ car and finished 18th, 0.8s behind Daniel Ricciardo in eighth.

Andreas Stella, McLaren’s executive director of racing, gave both thumbs up to Patricio O’Ward’s performance in the car.

“We entrusted Pato with his first FP1 session and his first run on the MCL36. He showed excellent control and delivered exactly what we asked for. Well done Pato. !” said Andreas Stella.

Earlier, O’Ward participated in last year’s post-season test in Abu Dhabi, but found it to be a heavy strain on his neck, and has since put in a lot of effort to prepare for the 23G strain.

“I’ve done more with my neck than you can imagine!” said Patricio O’Ward.

“Last year I gave up my neck after a lot of laps, but in this case it worked really well.”

“I’ve always focused on my physical fitness and always said I didn’t want it to be a limitation, but when you first stepped into a Formula 1 car you didn’t know what to expect. It’s nothing.”

“I wish I had wanted a smoother FP1. I feel like once you get out there first and get the hang of it, you know a little more what to expect. There were a lot of unexpected types of curveballs thrown, so I think there was a lot going on in the beginning.”

“But it’s good. I tried different lines and I think you saw that moment on the broadcast, but it was a lot of fun trying to take advantage of everything the car was capable of.”

Patricio O’Ward intends to push McLaren’s Zak Brown (CEO) and Andres Seidl (Team Principal) to run in future F1 if there is a suitable gap in the calendar before returning to IndyCar next year I explained.

“I think it’s definitely important for you to hear Zaku, maybe a little bit for Andreas, ‘When can we get in the car again?’ Because it comes together.”

“It’s a very compressed season from May to September. It’s non-stop. So I don’t know what to say. It would be great if we could run it before the IndyCar season, but it all depends on the big boss. I think

Patricio O'Ward McLaren F1 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixPatricio Oward 2022 F1 Abu Dhabi GP

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