McLaren Racing will feature IndyCar stars Alex Paul and Pat O’Ward in a pair of upcoming F1 practice sessions.

McLaren said on Friday that Palou, the 2021 IndyCar champion, will conduct the first practice session next Friday at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas. The Spaniard will drive Daniel Ricciardo’s car in the 60-minute session.

“I’m really excited to make mine F1 debut weekend,” Palu said. “It’s great to drive in the United States in front of fans who may have seen me race in IndyCar.”

O’Ward will drive Land Norris’ car in the first practice session at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. The Mexican participated in the young driver tests at this track for McLaren last December.

“I can’t wait to hit the track in Abu Dhabi. I’m a driver and I had a lot of fun testing last year’s car with the team, so it’s going to be a great experience,” said O’Ward.

Palu and O’Ward tested the Formula 1 car twice for McLaren after the IndyCar season ended last month in Barcelona and Austria.

“Alex and Pat impressed with their recent tests,” said McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl. “It’s a great chance for them to showcase their skills on the world stage of Formula 1, where the focus will be on helping the team prepare for the race weekend and not on the final lap time.”

Announcing the mandatory use of two IndyCar drivers in at least two practice sessions this season, McLaren clearly did not get access to Oscar Piastre sooner than it had hoped.

Piastri is under contract with Alpine until the end of the year and will replace Ricciardo at McLaren next season. McLaren had hoped that Piastri would be released early and perhaps even take part in some training before the end of the season.

The Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team will expand to three cars in 2023, with Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi joining O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist. McLaren attempted to add Paul, who had signed with the team, but ultimately retained his existing Chip Ganassi Racing contract.

Ganassi held an option on Palu for 2023, exercised it and then failed to agree a buyout with McLaren when Palu told Ganassi he was leaving. He will now finish his contract with Ganassi, is allowed to test an F1 car for McLaren and will officially join McLaren in 2024.

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