In Free Practice 1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward experienced a minor scare just a few corners after leaving the pits.
When it appeared that a serious problem may endanger his first FP1 performance, Pato O’Ward has shared what was going through his mind.
The McLaren driver from Mexico was given the order to stay in second gear by the team when he exited Turn 5. He then slowed down on the main back straight.
O’Ward recalled it happening during his first F1 weekend.
He told the reporters, including RacingNews365.com, “I was certainly thinking, ‘Oh, I really hope it doesn’t get cut short’, you know?
“Because it was [a] very exciting time for me to get my first FP1 under my belt.”
He returned to the pits, where the team worked for a few minutes to fix the issue before he returned to the racetrack and completed a total of 22 laps.
“At that point that was just trying to make sure my communications to the team were clear, because I was getting bounced around quite aggressively in the car”, according to O’Ward.
“I don’t have much experience, so I don’t know what that meant. I don’t think we knew at the time either.
“We came into the box and gave it a reset, which seemed to fix [the problem].”
O’Ward: You don’t know what to expect when you first get into an F1 car
O’Ward and fellow IndyCar competitor Alex Palou have already driven the McLaren 2021 car at the Red Bull Ring and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Having acknowledged that he experienced significant neck pain throughout the tests, he has now improved his health.
“I’ve done so much on my neck, you have no idea,” explained O’Ward.
“I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on my physical and I’ve always said, ‘I do not want that to be a limitation.’
“But when you first step into an F1 car, you don’t know what to expect.
“My neck had [previously] given up after doing a good amount of laps, but it wasn’t the case this time. He held up real nice!”
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Abu Dhabi GP, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, Grand Prix, Pato O’Ward, McLaren