Pato O’Ward has insisted he will hold McLaren CEO Zak Brown to a pre-season bet regarding a Formula 1 test in the wake of his maiden IndyCar victory on Sunday.
Prior to the start of the 2021 season Brown promised O’Ward a run in the McLaren MCL35M at this December’s post-season test if he were to climb onto the top step of the podium in IndyCar.
O’Ward missed out on the win at Barber, despite starting from pole position, but he seized the opportunity to win the second of the two races at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Moments after the race ended, Brown tweeted “A deal is a deal!” and when asked after the race if he aims to hold Brown to the deal, O’Ward laughed and simply stated: “Yes, he’s going to pay up!”
O’Ward ended Mexico’s 17-year wait for an IndyCar winner and in the process captured McLaren’s first victory since its full-time return to the series.
While excited at the opportunity of a Formula 1 test the 21-year-old outlined that he sees his future in the US-based category.
“My heart’s with IndyCar,” added O’Ward. “It’s just great racing and it’s so, so competitive. I think for a driver there is nothing harder in the world.
“I think many drivers can agree with me that have come from Formula 1 to IndyCar, back to Formula 1.
“You know what, Formula 1 is the peak of technology. Everybody wants to go there.
“If the opportunity ever came by – [if] Zak said ‘there’s a seat open, I want you in my team’, I’d be pretty dumb not to take it because it would just be a crazy opportunity. They don’t come often.
“Right now I’m focused on the job that I have right now in IndyCar. I want to make the best of it.”