Daniel Ricciardo McLaren boss Zak Brown said on Friday, after announcing that their IndyCar team had extended their agreement with Pato Award, who is eyeing a Formula 1 seat, had not delivered the hoped-for results in Formula 1.
McLaren has taken care of some work ahead of the Indy 500 on Sunday by extending O’Ward’s contract until the end of 2025 in a deal that will include some F1 testing for the 23-year-old from Mexico and a new McLaren sports car as the bonus signature car.
McLaren’s commitment to O’Ward would be a warning to underperforming Ricciardo, who has managed to finish by one point in six Formula One races this season and had a nightmarish start at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix by crashing into training on Friday.
The Australian is under contract until 2023 but Brown said there are “mechanisms” in place that could influence the negotiations.
Brown, who is in Indianapolis where the McLaren Arrow will do three cars in Sunday’s race, said.
“I do not want to enter into the contract, but there are mechanisms that we abide by, and then there are mechanisms that we are not.
“I spoke to Daniel about it. We didn’t get the results we were hoping for but we both will keep pushing.
“I think he showed at Monza that he can win races. We also need to keep developing our race car. It is not able to win races but we would like to see him above the grid.”
O’Ward has also shown the winner’s touch by collecting three wins, four poles and nine podiums since signing with Arrow McLaren in 2020.
O’Ward, who will start Sunday’s race from seventh on the grid, has set himself a two-year deadline to fulfill his Formula One dream which fits well with his deal with McLaren.
“I think the deadline is there just to get old. Once you’re 25 or 26, that window closes a little bit,” said O’Ward, who will get a Richard Mille watch from Brown as a reward if he wins the 500.
“Obviously, if you get the chance, you have to take it. The dream of becoming a Formula One racing driver came, so there is absolutely nothing to leave. It is a part of me.
“When you want something so much, it’s hard to block it from your mind. At the end of the day, what would make this guy [Brown] You want me more is more profit.”
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