Pato O’Ward is the third and last driver of Arrow McLaren to have his livery revealed, and for the driver of the #5 machine it is a continuation of the classic Arrow McLaren colour scheme of papaya and black. The Mexican is entering the fifth full-time season in the IndyCar series, during which he scored a total of four wins.
Last year, unfortunately, remained fruitless in that sense, as none of the Arrow McLaren entries was able to top the podium. However, O’Ward is confident in his team and himself, and is looking forward to turn around the underwhelming performance of 2023.
“We need to continue to build on what we have so far and that would be a great year already,” he said, “because we have been having some great years. Improving on that would mean we are challenging for the Indy 500 win and for the championship again.”
Team principal Gavin Ward agrees with O’Ward: “The name of the game is having an improvement mindset so we are looking for how we can be better as individuals and as a team.
“Pato is in great shape. He has some of the best in the business on his crew and the have got a point to prove this year.”
Ward usually starts the race watching from O’Ward’s timing stand, but he recognises the importance of all three cars to become successful, which he illustrates by going back and forth between all the three drivers’ stands during a session.
“It’s so important to work as one team rather than three individual units,” he says. “We have a mantra here that we’re not going to do things just because that’s the way they always been done. We’re going to do what we think is best. I think to really understand how the team is working you need to not be too plugged in with just one car or driver.”
O’Ward’s Race Engineer, Will Anderson is working closely with the 24 year old to find out what needs to be improved.
“I work very closely with Pato to understand where he is feeling weak or not so confident in the car, in the chassis, or in the setup,” he explaines. “With my performance engineer, Kate Gundlach, we determine where we’re losing time, what the data itself means and how to interpret what Pato tells us into actions.
“It may be cliché, but I really think this team and this crew can be in the hunt for the championship. I don’t know how the season will go, but I think it’s a good goal to have – to be in the championship hunt and hopefully be leading at the end of the season.”
Reacting to the livery, Anderson really likes the recognisability of the design: “Some of my favorite aspects (of the 2024 livery) is the classic contrast of the papaya on the black. You know it’s an Arrow McLaren car when it drives by, and the livery looks amazing this year.
“It’s a really sharp and clean update to the classic No. 5 car design and colors we’ve all come to love over the years.”
His protégé agrees with him: “Looking back at my previous cars through the years, there are small changes, but I’d say it is exactly what I expected.“
O’Ward not only looks to get a better return on their efforts, he looks to enjoy the season as well, together with his team.
“I want to really just enjoy it all with the team, because too much work goes into this to not enjoy it. I’m looking forward to tackling the challenges (ahead). Challenges are inevitable and will happen.
“Patience is a virtue.”