Pato O’Ward: ‘I want people to enjoy me in IndyCar’ despite still wanting to race in F1


After testing his “dream” vehicle in the offseason, Pato O’Ward remains highly interested in eventually racing F1 but is also “very committed” to the NTT IndyCar Series for now.

The Arrow McLaren SP driver, who won twice last season (including his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway) while finishing third in the IndyCar points standings, said during a preseason news conference Monday that “right now I have one focus, and that one focus is IndyCar” while answering multiple questions about his racing future.

O’Ward, 22, tested a “ridiculously fast” Formula One car after the 2022 Abu Dhabi season finale for McLaren, which also holds a majority stake in the IndyCar team that fields his No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet.

“I want to give these guys their first championship,” O’Ward said. “I’d love to give them their first (Indy 500 victory). This is what my focus is right now.

“Who knows if F1 will be an option or won’t be an option? Obviously, if it comes about, I will 100 percent take it and every single driver in my position would do it because it’s Formula 1. That’s what I grew up watching and that’s what I grew up dreaming of. That same dream that you have as a kid will never go away.

“Right now, I have a challenge here, and I want people to enjoy me in IndyCar. I want them to know what IndyCar has to offer. I want them to enjoy me in IndyCar, the racing. There’s so many cool things about it that so many people (say), ‘Oh, Pato went to Formula 1.’ Well, I will tell you whenever I go to Formula 1, if I ever got to Formula 1, but for now enjoy me in IndyCar.”

The Mexican driver was on an F1 track until 2019 when a relationship ended with Red Bull after he raced in F2 and Super Formula. O’Ward has been open about his desire to race F1 if the opportunity arose again, particularly with McLaren having two seats in the series. Fellow IndyCar star Colton Herta also was linked to a possible move to F1 last year.

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“Those opportunities, you have to take whenever they come at you,” O’Ward told NBC Sports’ Leigh Diffey in an interview last October. “It’s not like you can pick and choose (and say), ‘Oh, no, let me win the championship in IndyCar first and then go.’ It’s like, mate, you can’t really choose. So you have to take it as they come. Sometimes it’s very rushed, and sometimes it’s going to play out perfectly in your favor. You never know. Or sometimes the opportunity never arises. So we’re both in a position where we just need to take it as things come to us.”

O’Ward said the F1 team was “very welcoming” during his test last month.

“Man, it was such a cool experience in Abu Dhabi and just all the preparation that I had before then, it was definitely just something very new,” O’Ward said. “But I think it’s just going to make me better in every way, and definitely trying to learn as much as I can from that side and try and bring stuff over here to try and just boost everything up because I feel like the little bits and pieces we can get from here and there are just going to help our performance and make us all better.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, who set up the F1 test after Pato O’Ward fulfilled a bet that he would win in IndyCar last year, has indicated O’Ward is a future candidate for an F1 ride, but the team would like him to become an IndyCar champion first.

O’Ward was in the 2021 title fight through the season finale, leading the points standings with three races remaining before coming up short to series champion Alex Palou. He is hoping to improve his consistency after a season with five podiums and five finishes of 13th or worse but said it’s too early to evaluate his team’s progress without having any offseason testing (there will be one session at Sebring International Raceway before the Feb. 27 season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida).

“It’s going to take all year to keep getting better and better and better,” he said. “I sure hope we can roll off the trucks better than what we had last year at certain tracks. I think that’s the biggest thing. If you roll off well, you’re in a pretty good position to have a good race.”

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”