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McLaren announces Formula 1 debut for two IndyCar stars

The IndyCar drivers will take part in FP1 as part of the mandated rookie driver outings in the Formula 1 sporting regulations.

IndyCar stars Alex Palou and Patricio O'Ward will make their Formula 1 weekend debuts with McLaren at the final races of 2022. Spanish driver Palou, who won the IndyCar championship in 2021, will take part in FP1 at the upcoming United States Grand Prix in place of Daniel Ricciardo. Mexican O'Ward will be driving Lando Norris' car in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The opportunity follows their driver development tests in the MCL35M, the most recent one taking place at Austria . Palou said: “I’m so excited to be making my F1 weekend debut. It’s great to be driving in the United States in front of fans that may have seen me race in IndyCar. "Having driven the 2021 McLaren MCL35M in a few tests now, I can’t wait to put the MCL36 through its paces. I look forward to helping the team in their preparation for the 2022 United States Grand Prix.” Pato O’Ward added: “I can’t wait to get out on track in Abu Dhabi. I’ve developed as a driver and had a lot of fun testing last year’s car with the team, so it will be a great experience to drive the MCL36. Thank you McLaren F1 for the opportunity.”

Seidl: Palou and O'Ward 'impressed' at recent tests

McLaren Team Principal, Andreas Seidl, says the pair "impressed" at the recent tests in Barcelona and Austria and believes the FP1 outings will enable the team to further assess them as drivers. "With Alex’s great successes in IndyCar, it will be useful for the team to get his feedback on the car and for us to continue to evaluate him as a driver," he added. “Alex and Pato impressed with their recent tests in Barcelona and Austria and we’re excited to offer them the experience in the MCL36. "It’s a great chance for them to showcase their skills on F1's global stage, where the focus will be to help the team prepare for the race weekend and not on ultimate lap times.”

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