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A right to-do over Alex Palou

NEWS STORY
13/07/2022

Confusion reigns over Alex Palou as Chip Ganassi and McLaren both lay claim to the IndyCar champion's services for 2023.

In an extraordinary series of events, Chip Ganassi Racing announced that it had taken up an option on the 2021 IndyCar champion's services and retain him for a third season in 2023, only for the youngster to totally the claim.

"It's a great feeling knowing I'll be back with Chip Ganassi Racing next season," said Palou in the typically anodyne press release. "The team welcomed me with open arms from day one, and I'm excited to continue working with Chip, Mike Hull, the folks on the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda, and everyone within the organization.

"The goals remain the same," he added, "and we will continue to work relentlessly towards achieving them."

So far so good.

However, less than four hours later, the Spaniard took to social media.

"I have recently learned from the media that this afternoon, without my approval, Chip Ganassi Racing issued a press release announcing that I would be driving with CGR in 2023," he tweeted. "Even more surprising was that CGR's release included a 'quote' which did not come from me.

"I did not approve that press release," insisted the Spaniard, "and I did not author or approve that quote. As I have recently informed CGR, for personal reasons, I do not intend to continue with the team after 2022.

"This evening's unfortunate events aside, I have great respect for the CGR team, and look forward to finishing this season strongly together," he concluded.

Minutes later, McLaren Racing issued a press release declaring that "IndyCar champion Alex Palou to join McLaren Racing in 2023".

"Alongside his racing duties next year, Palou will also test with the McLaren F1 Team as part of its 2021 MCL35M F1 car testing programme with fellow drivers Pato O'Ward and Colton Herta," it read.

"Palou, 25-years-old from Barcelona, Spain, won three races and scored eight podiums in 2021 on his way to winning the title in just his second year in IndyCar.
Palou became the first Spanish driver to win the NTT IndyCar Series championship when he claimed last year's title. His motorsport resume also includes an impressive season in Super Formula in 2019, where he secured a win and finished third in the championship.

"Palou will join McLaren following the conclusion of his 2022 IndyCar season. McLaren Racing will confirm its full driver line-ups across all of its racing series in due course.

"I'm extremely excited to join the driver roster for such an iconic team as McLaren," said Palou. "I'm excited to be able to show what I can do behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car and looking at what doors that may open. I want to thank everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing for everything they have done for me."

"We have always said that we want the best talent at McLaren," added Zak Brown, "and it's exciting to be able to include Alex on that list. I'm also looking forward to seeing him get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car as part of our Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) programme alongside Pato O'Ward and Colton Herta as we continue to build our driver talent.

"Alex is an incredibly talented driver who has won in every series he has raced in, and I'm happy to welcome him to the McLaren family."

In a subsequent tweet from his personal account, Brown added: Delighted to bring Alex Palou into the McLaren Racing family! As the IndyCar champion, Alex is a fantastic addition to the already phenomenal talent we have in our driver roster. Bring on 2023.

With McLaren not saying what exactly Palou will be racing in 2023, other than to say that he joins O'Ward and Herta on the roster, if Brown's previous comments about Daniel Ricciardo not living up to expectations was meant to light a fire under the Australian's backside, the events overnight must have his rear end positively sizzling.

Indeed, though Brown has said that the Australian will be racing for McLaren in 2023 one has to wonder, like Palou, what exactly he will be driving.

The news of Palou's recruitment - to whatever series McLaren might have in mind for the youngster - comes as Herta's two day test at Portimao came to an end.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Max Noble, 13/07/2022 9:12

"You cannot make this stuff up. As noted in other threads… Turk Thrust would be cackling in delight over these plot twists… "

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