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Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward to drive for McLAREN F1 in Free Practice 1 sessions

The pair are set to take the wheel of the MCL36 in Austin and Abu Dhabi

Spanish driver Alex Palou will take part in the first free practice session at the 2022 United States Grand Prix for McLaren F1. Palou will drive Daniel’s car for the 60-minute session in Austin.

Palou, the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion, has an impressive motorsport career to date, including four wins and 15 podiums in INDYCAR, and third place in the 2019 Super Formula Championship.


Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward will also take part in a free practice session, driving Lando’s car at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver will take the wheel of the MCL36 after a successful season in INDYCAR, adding two wins and two podiums to his notable record in the series of two previous wins, seven podiums and the 2018 Indy Lights championship title.


This opportunity follows their driver development tests in the MCL35M. These sessions will fulfil the team’s two young driver outings, as mandated in the 2022 Sporting Regulations.

Alex Palou said:

“I’m so excited to be making my F1 weekend debut. It’s great to be driving in the United States in front of fans that may have seen me race in INDYCAR. Having driven the 2021 McLaren MCL35M in a few tests now, I can’t wait to put the MCL36 through its paces. I look forward to helping the team in their preparation for the 2022 United States Grand Prix.”

Pato O’Ward said:

“I can’t wait to get out on track in Abu Dhabi. I’ve developed as a driver and had a lot of fun testing last year’s car with the team, so it will be a great experience to drive the MCL36. Thank you McLaren F1 for the opportunity.”


Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, said:

“We’re pleased to give Alex and Pato the opportunity to take part in free practice sessions with McLaren. With Alex’s great successes in INDYCAR, it will be useful for the team to get his feedback on the car and for us to continue to evaluate him as a driver.

“Alex and Pato impressed with their recent tests in Barcelona and Austria and we’re excited to offer them the experience in the MCL36. It’s a great chance for them to showcase their skills on Formula 1’s global stage, where the focus will be to help the team prepare for the race weekend and not on ultimate lap times.”

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