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Contract saga sorted: McLaren announces new O’Ward deal

by Jack Benyon
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Pato O’Ward’s new contract has been signed and confirmed, with the IndyCar star set to drive for the Arrow McLaren SP team through the 2025 season.

Three-time IndyCar race winner O’Ward dropped a bombshell when he said he was looking outside of the team at future options in February.

That kickstarted an awkward public stand off between O’Ward and the team which O’Ward later described as having felt like an intra-team war at the time.

It was clear in the lead up to the Barber Motorsports Park race four weeks ago – which O’Ward won – that something had changed and O’Ward confirmed to The Race then that a new deal was all but signed.

Now the team has announced the deal in full ahead of Friday’s Carb Day practice at the Indianapolis 500.

“I am incredibly happy to have locked in my future with Arrow McLaren SP,” said O’Ward.

“This team has truly felt like home for me over the past three years and I can’t wait to build on our success as we compete for wins and championships.

“I want to thank the whole team for this opportunity. This is exactly where I want to be.”

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O’Ward joined the team in 2020 at the same time McLaren bought into the Schmidt Peterson outfit, and immediately starred.

He gave the team the first pole of its new era at Barber in 2021, its first win at Texas also in 2021, and was a close third in the championship that year after being taken out at the start of the championship finale race.

While his team-mates have struggled to extract the maximum from the car, O’Ward has been constantly ahead of them all and it’s no surprise to see McLaren make a new deal with the driver work.

“Pato is an important part of McLaren’s future in IndyCar and we are happy that he will be a key part of Arrow McLaren SP for years to come,” added McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

“He is an incredibly talented driver who has already shown what he is capable of in IndyCar and I look forward to watching him take the next step in his promising career.”

O’Ward is the first driver Arrow McLaren SP has signed through next year.

Current team-mate Felix Rosenqvist is racing for a new deal, while the new full-time third entry for 2022 is expected to be driven by Alexander Rossi – who is currently at Andretti Autosport – with an announcement coming before the end of June.

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