Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, McLaren: Racing in the last hours!

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, McLaren: Racing in the last hours!

Wednesday July 13, 2022 by Eliane Gilain

A real exchange worthy of a tennis match has been going on for 24 hours in the world of motorsport: it concerns the driver, the Catalan Alex Palou, champion of the IndyCar series in 2021, and two teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren.

Indeed, Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) revealed yesterday afternoon that it had activated the option to extend Palou’s contract until the end of the 2023 IndyCar season, even quoting the driver in an open and happy comment to remain with the team he currently plays with . However, Palou said in a message he posted shortly after on his social networks that he never passed this information to the media: “Recently I learned from the media that this afternoon, without my permission, Chip Ganassi Racing issued a statement to media and announced that they will drive in 2023. The most surprising thing is that the release included a “quote” that was not mine. I have not endorsed this press release, and I am not the author of this quote and have not endorsed it. As I informed CGR recently, for personal reasons I do not wish to continue with the team beyond 2022. Apart from tonight’s events, I have a lot of respect for the CGR team, and I look forward to finishing this season strong together. ”

Disagreement was widespread but a few hours later, McLaren announced that it had hired Palou for the 2023 season, without specifying which series it would drive for. Indeed, this news did not come from Arrow Mclaren SP, the IndyCar team, but from the headquarters of McLaren in England!

A clause in Palou’s contract at McLaren dictates that the driver will be able to participate in a “pre-test car” program with Pato O’ward and Colton Herta. This means that these drivers will test (or have already tested at the beginning of the week in the case of Herta) the McLaren Formula 1 from last season.

Palou’s employment with McLaren would be possible, according to some sources, despite the choice made by Ganassi in the event that the Catalan will no longer drive IndyCar. This then set off a flurry of reactions, with many eyes on Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 steering wheel which, let’s be honest, isn’t very shiny at the moment!

The Australian driver responded in a statement on social media this morning that “there are many rumors about my future in Formula 1, but I want you to hear from me. I am committed to McLaren until the end of next year and I will not leave the sport. Of course, it wasn’t always easy, but who wants it to be easy! I am working hard with the team to make improvements and get the car back where it belongs, at the front. I still want this more than anything. See you at Le Castellet. Daniel”.

Palou for his part shared the news of his participation in McLaren in 2023 today, without further details. McLaren thus finds itself with a choice of 4 drivers for three steering wheels in IndyCar within its Arrow McLaren SP model in 2023: Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist.

Our colleague Marshall Pruett points out, on the website Racer, that Palou started in IndyCar at Dale Coyne Racing in 2020, without having a very good year. Moving to Ganassi in 2021, he impressed everyone, winning the championship in his first season with the team. However, his salary does not reflect his prowess on the track. Wanting to extend this season by justice, McLaren came as a savior with the best offer, even when promising behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car. It was last May when the first rumors of a possible change appeared.

Unless of course there is a contract between Palou and CGR, which suggests that everything will have to be settled in court… but the public square is eager to learn about the development! Especially since the 2022 season is not over yet, the sky inside Chip Ganasi Racing and while Palou still has good chances for the championship, he will definitely be cut with a knife!