Brown 'would love to see' IndyCar racers get a shot at F1


McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown would like to see F1 amend its testing rules to open up opportunities for young talents competing in IndyCar to sample the sport's current-spec machines.

The cross-over between IndyCar and F1 has yielded very few success stories in the past 25 years.

With the exception of 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve and seven-time Grand Prix winner Juan Pablo Montoya, those who have left America's top single-seater series to apply their skills in F1 reaped little reward.

Former ChampCar champion Sebastian Bourdais, who learned his trade in Europe, is the most recent driver to have crossed over from one series to the other, but the Frenchman had little to show for his 27 races with Toro Rosso in 2008 and 2009.


Yet Brawn believe that IndyCar holds several talented drivers worthy of an F1 opportunity. One such young racer is Arrow McLaren SP charger Pato O'Ward who secured his maiden IndyCar triumph last weekend in Texas.

As an extra bonus promised by Zak Brown for securing his first win, the 23-year-old Mexican will test a McLaren F1 car at Abu Dhabi at the end of the current season,

"I think that now that we have such limited testing that it’s very difficult to take a risk with bringing on a driver that you think could have the calibre to be a Formula 1 driver but doesn’t have the time or track knowledge," explained Brown, speaking before O'Ward's win in last Sunday's XPEL 375.

"So if I look back and put my fan hat on, I was excited when Michael Andretti came over, when Jacques Villeneuve came over, when Juan Pablo Montoya came over.

"I think IndyCar is recognised as one of the best championships in the world, and so when you see a talent like Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward who drives for us in IndyCar, I’d love to see those drivers get a shot to compete in Formula 1. But I think we need to give them more seat time."

Brown offered an idea on how to award track time in Formula 1 to young drivers in the future and perhaps create an interest from the US market.

"One of the things I would like to see – and I don’t have a set number in mind, I don’t know if it’s three times a year, maybe it’s five times a year – is mandatory FP1 where you have to put in a young driver," he suggested.

"If we could get someone like Colton or Pato some testing time, some FP1s then I think you could better take decisions which would create new opportunities.

"So younger, exciting drivers would help in… And it’s not just in the North American marketplace, but IndyCar obviously breeds extremely good racing drivers, and I think that creates excitement, it would help with the US market and the young driver market."

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