Red Bull-backed O'Ward takes Ticktum's Super Formula seat
Red Bull junior Patricio O’Ward will replace Dan Ticktum at Team Mugen for the remainder of the Super Formula season in Japan.
O’Ward – who joined the Red Bull junior team in May – has been competing in IndyCar with Carlin this year, but confirmed to Motorsport.com on Friday that he may miss the rest of his American schedule “based on budget”.
Speaking about Ticktum, Red Bull Motorsports advisor Helmut Marko said: “At this level the demands are intense.
“Unfortunately Dan has not found the success in the Super Formula series that we hoped for.”
Ticktum has not spoken publicly about his dismissal from the Red Bull programme, but has defended himself in social media comments since the news was announced.
Now O’Ward will partner Tomoki Nojiri at Team Mugen in Japan, with four events remaining this season.
“Dr. Helmut Marko spoke to me about an hour ago,” said O’Ward, speaking on Friday morning at the Red Bull Ring.
“He explained that he would like for me to do the remaining Super Formula rounds in Japan as well as possibly some more F2 races if that can be arranged.
“It is a huge opportunity of course and I'm very excited about it.
“I know that it will be a big challenge.
“Like coming here this weekend I do not know the tracks in Japan or the car but there is more track time in a race weekend I believe.
“I know that culture and communications are different and the series is at a very high level so it is a fantastic chance for me to learn and progress.”
When asked by Motorsport.com if he would favour a move to Super Formula before it was announced, he said: “I have to take what I can get.
“I don’t really have a secure ride for the rest of the season.
“It [Japan] is somewhere where I can get quite a bit of seat time and work on my technique and get better overall.
“I get to go to a different country I’ve never been to before, I’m sure the culture is quite different.
“But I think it’s exciting, I like to travel and see the different places and culture.
“There’s nothing more international than F1 so it’s good practice and just enjoy it.”
If O’Ward also gets the opportunity to compete in more F2 races – which he favours to gain more experience of F1 weekends – the only clash with Super Formula is F2’s Sochi round in September.
O’Ward finished last on his F2 debut at the Red Bull Ring with MP Motorsport, struggling to make the Pirelli tyre last a distance.
Dan Ticktum, Team Mugen
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
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