Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA
IndyCar Indianapolis 500

O’Ward feels “helpless” over issue he fears will handicap his Indy 500

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward has revealed that an issue is plaguing his Indianapolis 500 bid, in a crucial area that his team “just can’t seem to perfect”.

The 25-year-old Mexican was Arrow McLaren’s best shot to win last year’s race until he crashed out in the closing stages, after an ambitious move on eventual runner-up Marcus Ericsson ended in the Turn 3 wall.

Although he was fifth quickest in practice on Monday, as teams reverted to race-spec turbo boost after three days in qualifying mode, the normally upbeat O’Ward was uncharacteristically gloomy about his chances in Sunday’s 108th running of the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’.

“Definitely hasn't been the best of the days of the month,” he said after Monday’s running. “We’ve had some annoying issue that we just can't seem to perfect.

“I just hope we can fix it. If not, we're going to be in handicapped mode for the race. But in terms of balance, I think we're pretty sporty if we fix that.”

Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

When pressed on exactly what the issue was, O’Ward replied: “Too many variables.”

He went on to add: “We're slow. We know what it is, but it's a lot easier said than done to fix it or not have the issue. It just sucks when you're not fast enough around here. You feel helpless.

“I mean, all you can do is kind of just ignore it and try to make all the other things work and just put a lot of emphasis on that to make sure it doesn't happen on race day. Obviously, there's still a possibility that it could.”

O’Ward will start the Indy 500 from eighth, which is the middle of the third row and mirrors his starting position from last year. He finished runner-up to Ericsson in 2022 from seventh on the grid.

Monday’s practice saw a lot of multi-car draft pack running, and while some drivers – like Andretti Global’s Colton Herta – were able to work their way through to the front, others were unable to make forward progress.

“I think it's just part of what you have to kind of battle with around this place,” O’Ward said of finding the ideal setup for the race. “There's a fine line with everything.

“If you want more speed, you're going to give up in other performance areas where you kind of need them all in the race. It's just part of it.

“I mean, I'm confident my guys are going to fix it and truly kind of dig into just see how can we not have that issue and/or just get rid of it completely.”

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Team principal Gard Ward remains positive about McLaren’s chances this weekend, with just one more practice during Friday’s Carb Day to make its final race-trim decisions.

“It’s always amazing how you feel like you've got all the time in the world when you get here, and then when you get through qualifying, you don't have much time left,” he said. “It was a busy session trying to get the Arrow McLaren Chevrolet cars as good as can be for the race.

“We feel pretty good about where we're at and we have some happy drivers. We're chipping away at things bit by bit. There's one more session to go and then it's time for the real thing.”

Read Also:

Watch: Indy 500: Newgarden paces intense post-qualifying practice at 226.238mph

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Indy 500: Newgarden paces intense post-qualifying practice at 226.238mph
Next article Zak Brown “would love” to continue with Hendrick for more Larson Indy 500s

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

USA