2021 IndyCar champion Palou made his F1 race weekend debut on Friday, participating in observe for the USA Grand Prix with McLaren.
It got here as a part of a deal for Palou to conduct F1 working with McLaren by its testing of earlier vehicles programme alongside his race duties for Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar – after a failed try to leap ship to McLaren’s IndyCar crew.
O’Ward is a part of the identical F1 take a look at programme and can participate in observe for the season finale in Abu Dhabi. However Palou mentioned he didn’t see it as a contest to try to be the following IndyCar driver to make the swap to F1.
“No, I do not assume we’re competing,” mentioned Palou. “As racing drivers, you’re all the time competing. But when we begin from there, I do not assume that they’re placing us in a race [seat]. So I believe I do not take it that means.
“I believe the best way we have been testing and the best way we have been working collectively, it’s not been feeling like that. So yeah, I do not assume so.”
McLaren has Lando Norris locked in with a long-term contract and has additionally signed 2021 F2 champion Oscar Piastri for its second seat subsequent season on a multi-year deal, stitching up its line-up for the foreseeable future.
Alex Palou, McLaren MCL36
Picture by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Pictures
O’Ward has beforehand been clear about his ambition to in the future make the swap to F1, however admitted final winter that the window for it to realistically occur was solely a few years.
Palou mentioned he was content material to have his give attention to IndyCar for the longer term, noting that it was his success within the collection that helped pave the best way for his F1 alternative with McLaren in Austin.
“Clearly I believe as a racing driver that likes motorsport, F1 is the place you wish to go,” mentioned Palou. “All through my profession, I realised that F1 was not a spot I may actually obtain.
“I went by IndyCar and we achieved that, and funnily sufficient, getting that IndyCar championship gave me the chance to be right here right now. I embrace each single second of it.
“I am not chasing it. Clearly, if any individual offers me a journey, I will drive it. That is the last word dream. But it surely’s not that I am centered.
“I’ve a profession in IndyCar, we have been profitable and I wish to get as many championships as attainable. However yeah, if there is a automobile, I will drive it.”