Alex Palou breaks his silence over ‘sad’ McLaren contract saga

Michelle Foster
McLaren reserve Alex Palou watches on at the Miami Grand Prix.

Alex Palou will not be a McLaren driver in 2024.

Alex Palou has broken his silence in his latest contract saga involving McLaren, calling it a “sad” situation but says he’s “not disappointed” to miss out on more McLaren F1 opportunities.

For the second year running Palou have found himself in the middle of a contract saga, and once again McLaren are involved.

Last year Palou wanted to leave Chip Ganassi Racing and join McLaren for 2023 but his IndyCar team insisted he had a contract with them for this season with Palou eventually staying at CGR – but he was expected to join McLaren in 2024.

Alex Palou: I think someday I’ll write a story, and maybe a book

That ended last month when McLaren CEO Zak Brown revealed Palou had “no intention of honouring his contract” with the team for 2024 and thereafter, despite assurances over his driving future and an advance on his salary.

McLaren have since taken legal action, filing against Palou as a person and his business entity in London courts.

Palou initially kept his own council but has now spoken a bit about the situation.

“I think someday I’ll write a story, and maybe a book, so everybody knows what was going on since ’22 and ’23, each month. But yeah, for now, I’m not gonna give a lot of information,” he said.

“I think maybe after the season, I can sit down and explain a lot more, I don’t think it would help anybody or anyone to start now.”

As for speculation that McLaren are seeking $20-$30 million from the driver, the 26-year-old said: “Honestly, I don’t really understand.

“I can ask you for as much as I want – I can ask you 400 million because you asked me a tough question. So yeah, honestly, it might or might not be concerning for the lawyers so I don’t really know.

“The lawyers are telling me stuff about how it’s going on and what they think – so that’s good, it’s in their hands.

“I’m just trying to be a bit more away from all that to last year and trying to really go for races and focusing on the racing.

“I know everything [that] is going on and I’m not taking that apart but there’s also nothing, [not] a lot more than I can do there, let’s say.

“So I can only lose concentration on the races and all that stuff.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 schedule: When is the next F1 race and where is it being held?

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

Has Alex Palou scuppered his chances of ever racing in F1?

With Palou out of the McLaren picture, Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta are the likely candidates to fill the team’s two young driver FP1 slots before the end of this season.

Asked if he was disappointed about missing out on further F1 opportunities, Palou replied: “Well, not [really]. I think they gave me a lot of chances, last year, I did it in COTA and they also gave me some chances this year, doing a test in Budapest.

“So yeah, I’m not disappointed personally because I couldn’t get another.”

Brown, though, reckons the driver’s action may have ended any hope he had about ever racing in F1, telling the media including PlanetF1.com: “I’m not sure we’ll ever find out [if he could drive in F1].”

Summing up his situation, Palou said: “I would say it’s just sad. I would have liked to have done things differently. But it’s not been that way. And I’m just sad the way it’s worked out.

“But yeah, I cannot really change it and just change everything and colour it and make it a little more nice. It’s not that way.”

Read next: Mick Schumacher’s major admission as he looks to secure F1 future