McLaren confirms that 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou is testing the 2021 McLaren MCL35M at the Barcelona-Catalonia circuit this week, accompanied by fellow IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward.
McLaren continues its testing programme this week with IndyCar stars Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward driving the 2021 F1 car for the first time in Barcelona.
Alex Palou won his IndyCar title in his second season and this year finished fifth in the standings. His 2022 season was marked by contractual difficulties: he had reached an agreement to move to McLaren IndyCar but the driver was also under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing for 2023. Palou will continue to race for CGR but is still allowed to test for McLaren F1, the first of which took place this Wednesday in Spain.
Pato O’Ward is also testing the MCL35M this week. The Mexican will remain with McLaren IndyCar in 2023 alongside former F1 driver Alex Rossi. O’Ward has four career wins in the class and is seventh in this year’s standings.
Colton Herta, who could enter F1 in 2023 with AlphaTauri if the team is able to secure a Superlicence for the 22-year-old IndyCar driver, has already taken part in McLaren’s ‘Testing of Previous Cars’ programme, at a test day in Portimao, Portugal earlier this year.
It is certain that none of these three IndyCar drivers will be able to join the McLaren F1 team in 2023, however, as the team has already made its driver line-up official. Lando Norris is under contract to the Woking team until 2025 and Oscar Piastri will join him next season in place of Daniel Ricciardo.
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