Two-time IndyCar champion Alex Palou has shed light on whether he thinks an F1 career is still on the cards for him.
Spanish racer Alex Palou recently wrapped up his second IndyCar championship, following on from his maiden win in 2021. Palou had been a McLaren F1 reserve driver, carrying out several tests with the Woking-based squad, as well as driving for McLaren in FP1 in a rookie session last year.
Palou recently made headlines as he unceremoniously severed ties with McLaren, as well as his own management, in order to extend his relationship with his current IndyCar team Chip Ganassi Racing.
What are Alex Palou’s chances of an F1 drive?
With Palou one of the highest-rated drivers in motorsport outside of the FIA bubble, having switched across to IndyCar four years ago, his contract antics have raised eyebrows on both sides of the Atlantic, but the Spaniard says he hopes one day to explain his side of the story.
“I’ve been pretty much away from the media and social media, mostly so I don’t get too distracted by what’s going on off the track and I can keep giving 100 per cent, unlike last year,” Palou told SoyMotor.com.
“It’s a mess that, one day, I hope to be able to explain from the inside, step by step and day by day, the options we had and the ones we didn’t have. But it’s clear that we have the best tools we could ask for in IndyCar.”
The 26-year-old appears to have somewhat given up on his F1 dream in order to concentrate on the top level of single-seater racing in the United States, where he is a big fish already – Palou’s IndyCar success not translating to something substantial in the bigger world of F1, not that it appears to bother him.
“I think with what happened in 2021, that after winning the championship we had the opportunity to test an F1 car and to be part of McLaren, I think it was a sign that I hadn’t completely forgotten about Formula 1,” he said.
“I’ve always said that, for me, [F1] is not the only focus and I wouldn’t give it all up for F1 at any price, but at the same time I know it’s the top class of motorsport, with the biggest teams and brands, and obviously I’d like to be part of it, but only with a good option and not at any price.
“The opportunity I have here in the United States is great and I don’t want to give it up for a chance. We tried, we got in the car and I think we did a good job, but the opportunity didn’t come out.”
Alex Palou: The F1 door isn’t closed
With McLaren CEO Zak Brown suggesting that Palou’s ship has now sailed in terms of F1, particularly after such a brutal rejection of one of F1’s biggest teams, the Spaniard himself admits another opportunity probably won’t come along.
“For my part, I couldn’t do anything else, so I don’t think another opportunity will come, because I’m getting too old for the F1 world,” he said.
“We’ll wait, we’ll keep winning as much as we can in IndyCar and if an opportunity comes, we’ll welcome it; if it doesn’t, that’s fine, we’ll keep trying to get wins and championships in IndyCar.
“The door is not closed, not at all. But it’s not the same being 27 years old – next year – and having to wait two more years… as being 21 years old. I don’t think the door is 100% closed, but I’m not waiting for it either. I know that the moment has maybe passed. With 2021 and this one, if an opportunity hasn’t come, it’s going to be difficult to repeat a season like this one.
“We’ll see, but I won’t be waiting too impatiently, I’m happy with the opportunity I’ve had and I’ve fulfilled a dream I’ve had since I was a kid, which was to drive a Formula 1 car,” he added.