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Daniel Ricciardo would enjoy IndyCar experience, says Pato O'Ward

We can still expect to see Ricciardo around, however, because it has been confirmed that he will return to Red Bull as their third driver.

Daniel Ricciardo in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/ McLaren)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Nov 24, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

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Pato O’Ward understands Daniel Ricciardo’s aversion to racing on ovals, but believes IndyCar is a series he would enjoy. Ricciardo lost his McLaren drive at the end of the 2022 season after failing to live up to expectations, and he has not taken up another position on the grid for 2023. We can still expect to see him around, however, because it has been confirmed that he will return to Red Bull as their third driver. However, O’Ward, who races in IndyCar for Arrow McLaren SP and made his F1 debut with McLaren during FP1 in Abu Dhabi, believes Ricciardo could learn to embrace IndyCar if he makes the switch.

“I did see online that he didn’t want to do ovals, which I respect,” said O’Ward, as per Motorsport.com. “But I think Daniel would love it. I really think he would fit right in. And does he want to do it? Does he not want to do it? I don’t know. The car is very different. I can tell you that. The way F1 is versus how IndyCar is, it’s very different. But I think he would love it. He loves America. So I think Daniel would fit right in. And I know the super speedways are very quick. We all understand they are more dangerous, right?” he said.

“But I think there’s a lot of kind of like trash talk about of super speedways and ovals in general. And it shouldn’t be that way. Because maybe on TV it’s hard to explain but it is a very cool, very different type of racing. And once you do them a little bit more and you kind of start getting comfortable with it, you realise how special they are and what they’re all about. And I feel like before everybody kind of goes, I don’t want to try ovals, and kind of just close your mind, try it. Try it because it’s a very, very cool experience. It’s quick, it’s very fast. But I don’t think he’d have an issue with it.”

Another Formula One driver who found himself dropping off the grid and opposed to racing on ovals was Romain Grosjean, who switched to IndyCar after leaving Haas. But Grosjean would soon change his mind, with the 2021 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 serving as his first oval race before committing to the full 2022 schedule.

“I think it’s just a different learning,” O’Ward continued. “It’s a different craft that you have to master, which ultimately makes the championship even harder to win because you need to craft three different disciplines, super speedways and short ovals and a super speedway is completely different to a short oval. And I think Romain can attest that. He started off not really wanting to do them, and then he kind of tried one, and he’s like this is cool. And I think you learn how it is to drive in it and how to play around with the towing and everything and you learn to love it.”

“And I think super speedways and ovals are a very beautiful thing but they are very penalising when you’re going at those speeds, right, but as it is in an F1 car, I mean if you have an accident at over 200mph, I don’t think the consequences will be much less, you’re still travelling at such high speeds,” he added.



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