Pato O'Ward believes Daniel Ricciardo would "love" a switch to IndyCar should the Australian not make a return to the Formula 1 grid after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Poor performances at McLaren have led to Ricciardo's contract ending a year early, with the eight-time Grand Prix winner looking set for a return to Red Bull in a reserve driver role for 2023.
Ricciardo is keen to return to the grid in 2024 should he be able to find a seat, but this is not guaranteed after he was not interested in a seat at Haas, believing he should be able to find better equipment.
He has also dismissed the prospect of changing series in 2023 to keep racing, ruling out a switch to IndyCar or even Trackhouse Racing's Project 91 operation in NASCAR, of which Ricciardo is a big fan.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi after his FP1 debut for the team, current McLaren IndyCar star O'Ward believes Ricciardo would be a perfect fit, and explained why ovals are not as daunting as is believed.
O'Ward on Ricciardo to IndyCar
"I did see online that he didn't want to do ovals, which I respect," O'Ward told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"But I think Daniel would love it. I really think he would fit right in. And does he want to do it? Does he not want to do it? I don't know.
"The car is very different, I can tell you that.
"The way F1 is versus how IndyCar is, it's very different, but I think he would love it.
"He loves America, so I think Daniel would fit right in.
"I know the superspeedways are very quick. We all understand they are more dangerous, right?
“But there's a lot of trash talk about superspeedways and ovals in general.
"It shouldn't be that way. Maybe on TV it's hard to explain but it is a very cool, very different type of racing.
“Once you do them a little bit more and you kind of start getting comfortable with it, you realise how special they are and what they're all about.
"I feel like before everybody kind of goes: 'I don't want to try ovals', just close your mind and try it, it is a very cool experience.
"It's quick, it's very fast. But I don't think he'd have an issue with it.”
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O'Ward points to Grosjean example
IndyCar has become increasingly popular for drivers who have left F1 in recent years or have been unable to get onto the grid.
The likes of Callum Ilott, Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson have made the switch, with Ericsson claiming victory in the Indy 500 earlier this year.
"I think it's just a different learning," the four-time IndyCar race winner explained.
"It's a different craft that you have to master, which ultimately makes the championship even harder to win because you need to craft three different disciplines – [ovals, street and road courses].
"I think Romain can attest that.
"He started off not really wanting to do them, and then he kind of tried one, and he's like: This is cool.
"You learn how it is to drive [on superspeedways] and how to play around with the towing and everything and you learn to love it."
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