Pato O'Ward is Recharged and Back to Work
Pato O’Ward on his season ahead in his fourth campaign with the team
After releasing his No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet this morning, Pato O’Ward is counting the days until the drop of the green flag in St. Petersburg.
He is ready to take advantage of the upcoming on-track test sessions, starting next week at The Thermal Club in Palm Springs, Calif.
With 38 days remaining until Round 1 of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, Pato is itching to get back in the car in his new livery.
“The car looks ‘racey’ to me,” he said. “I love the colors: black, fluro papaya and the light blue. It’s such a great combo. And, it looks like our 2022 livery but on steroids, which is always a good thing.”
The 23-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico had an extremely busy 2022 season. Pato extended his track time beyond the 17 races in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES by racing in the 24-hour race at Daytona and winning in the LMP2 class. He later tested in the McLaren Driver Development Programme before finishing his year in FP1 during the season-finale Formula 1 event in Abu Dhabi for the McLaren F1 Team.
“Pretty much everyone in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has six months free following the last race in September,” Pato said. “But, I’ve truly had probably six-to-seven weeks off. I’ve made sure that time was completely off so I could do things that aren’t racing related and just have a good time and recharge.”
You likely saw it across Pato’s social media channels: spending time with family and friends was his way of recharging for this year’s upcoming race calendar.
“It is very important to me to recharge during the offseason,” he said. “For a few weeks I stayed at the beach, because… well, I love the beach! After a long year, I love spending time with my family and loved ones, laughing with each other and eating good food. It was great to spend time with them all in a beautiful place.”
Now that Pato is back to work, training hard and preparing for the INDYCAR Open Test at The Thermal Club on February 2-3, what will he and his No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet team look to accomplish?
“It’s so important to get back into the flow of things,” Pato said. “We will need to work through different setups on the car to make the car go faster.
“Since we don’t race at Thermal, it doesn’t truly matter how well we do on the speed chart. However, it does matter how we go about things if we are struggling, to find ways to make the car go faster in particular corners. That will help us at future tracks we go to.”
Pato, the longest-tenured driver with Arrow McLaren after starting in 2020 as a rookie, will again race side-by-side with Felix Rosenqvist for a third consecutive season. They’ll also be joined this season by Alexander Rossi as the team’s third entry.
“Alexander has a lot of experience in a championship-caliber car,” Pato said, “And he comes to the team with a completely different philosophy on how the car is set up.
“We are all excited to see what he thinks, locating our strengths and weaknesses and determining where we can improve right away.”
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg takes place on March 3-5 and has been the season-opening event for many years. As Pato looks to the race season ahead, what’s on his mind heading into Round 1?
“St. Petersburg is the perfect place to start the season,” he said. “It is one of the nicer places we go to, and it has an extremely nice and young atmosphere.
“Obviously, it is easier said than done, but talking with the team, we are improving so much and already have a great baseline to work from. Now, it’s about producing results on the track!”
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