System 1 |  Herta and O’Ward will face a ‘huge challenge’ if McLaren runs them for free 1

System 1 | Herta and O’Ward will face a ‘huge challenge’ if McLaren runs them for free 1


McLaren F1 team principal Andreas Seidl says IndyCar drivers Colton Herta or Patricio O’Ward will face “big challenge” if the team invites them to participate in Free Friday 1 this season.

O’Ward and Herta both tested the 2021 McLaren MCL35M, with O’Ward participating in a post-season test at Yas Marina in December, while Herta tested the car over two days at the Autodromo do Algarve last week.

F1 2022 regulations require each team to field inexperienced drivers in at least two Friday practice sessions during the season. Seidl says both drivers will struggle to get used to the new ground-effect cars for the 2022 season in the hour they will have in the car if McLaren gives them the Free 1.

“Of course, with F1 2022 being so different in terms of qualifications than last year, it’s not easy,” Seidl said.

“Besides, having only 60 minutes is already a big challenge in itself – it doesn’t matter who the driver is. But that’s the challenge we’re all facing this year, all the teams.”

“It will be important when you do this session to make sure you don’t think only of the driver, but also of the team, with a lot of pressure. Let’s not forget that we are racing cars there that we need to finish. The rest of the weekend with racing engines and possible gearboxes as well.”

“So I think with any driver in our F1, knowing the magnitude of this challenge, we will certainly take a conservative approach with the driver in question.”