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McLaren "let down" by Palou, says Brown

NEWS STORY
27/08/2023

McLaren boss, Zak Brown says his team feels "let down" by Alex Palou's decision to renege on his contract with the team for 2024.

In a complete volta face to the situation a year ago, the Spaniard has opted to remain with Chip Ganassi Racing after reneging on his contract with McLaren.

As a result, McLaren Racing Limited and McLaren Indy, LLC have begun legal action against Palou and his racing entity ALPA Racing USA, LLC, with some media reports claiming the Woking outfit is seeking as much as $30m (23.5m).

McLaren is citing a salary advance made to the Spaniard ahead of him joining the team in 2024, in addition to various investments the F1 team had made in his year-long programme as test and reserve driver, including private test sessions and his FP1 debut at the US Grand Prix last October.

However, the money issues aside, Zak Brown claims that it is the manner in which McLaren has been treated that really hurts.

"It's very disappointing," he said, "we had a very good relationship. "He hasn't personally communicated with me about it, which is rather disappointing, given all that we've done for him and the opportunities that we have provided.

"I don't think his decision has anything to do with McLaren per se," he continued, "our relationship was very strong. It's just disappointing how it's been handled on a personal level.

"All our relationships with our drivers are something McLaren take very seriously, I think we do a good job of creating a family environment for our drivers. So to be let down, especially in that manner, is pretty disappointing.

"Alex is obviously a very talented driver. We had him in our car a handful of times. Whether it's Alex or any other driver, to be a Formula 1 driver, you have to have the pace, but you also have to have the mental ability, if you like, in Formula 1. There's so much you have to do as a driver to be a complete driver. Alex has demonstrated in IndyCar and his time with us he is a complete racing driver, but we'll never find out.

"Alex informed us that he has no intention of honouring his contract with us in IndyCar or in Formula 1," said the American. "We have a contract, so it's now in the legal process we filed in London courts last week against him both as a person and his business entity, and we'll just let the legal proceedings carry the situation forward."

Asked about who might take part in the two compulsory FP1 sessions for rookies, Brown replied: "We have a few reserve drivers...

"Obviously last year we ran Pato and Alex, so I'm working with Andrea to decide, as it'll be towards the end of the year."

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