IndyCar driver Patricio O’Ward has spoken of his pride following his test with McLaren at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
O’Ward completed 92 laps for the Woking-based team on Tuesday, and he said he is grateful for his “once in a lifetime” opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car.
Speaking after the test, the Mexican said: “I’m at a loss for words about today.
“The experience and the opportunity is rare, once in a lifetime. But man, wow! Like, wow, these cars are ridiculous. I was expecting crazy and insane, and this is crazy and insane times 10.”
O’Ward has sporadically competed in IndyCar since 2018, signing for Arrow McLaren SP in 2020.
He admitted that he was more impressed by the performance of an F1 car, with it being signficantly quicker than an IndyCar.
“I thought the IndyCar was fast, and my eyes, I mean, it was just crazy. I don’t know what else to say,” O’Ward said.
“Since the first lap, as soon as I went out, I felt the power and the grip, the braking. The thing does whatever you want it to. What a great experience, and just what a car!”
‘My neck is destroyed’
He also conceded that his neck struggled with the G-forces of a Formula 1 car, saying that he was “about to lose” his head towards the end of the afternoon.
“Man, my neck is destroyed. In the morning I got to a good point, but I did some race running before I got some quali runs in the end.
“The issue was for me, and I know where I lost some time, is in corners where you’re limited by your neck strength, which I knew was going to be a problem, at least at the end of the day.”
Despite not quite being able to maximise the performance of the McLaren, O’Ward is pleased with his first outing in an F1 car.
“I have to say, to extract the last bit of it for sure, it takes a bit more commitment to the car. I for sure didn’t get to the limit of it in certain areas. I did in others, but in other areas.”
McLaren finished fourth in the Constructors’ Standings in 2021, with Lando Norris in sixth and Daniel Ricciardo in eighth in the Drivers’ Championship.