McLaren announce IndyCar star Alex Palou as reserve driver for 2023

Henry Valantine
Alex Palou McLaren FP1 run. Austin October 2022

Alex Palou in the McLaren for an FP1 run. Austin October 2022

McLaren have confirmed Alex Palou will be one of the team’s reserve drivers in Formula 1 in 2023, alongside his full-time IndyCar schedule.

The 2021 IndyCar champion will continue to race in the American series for Chip Ganassi Racing next season, with McLaren explaining he will be “available as a reserve driver for the team for all events that do not conflict with his INDYCAR commitments.”

Palou, 25, took part in two private tests for McLaren in Austria and Barcelona earlier this season alongside fellow IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward, before making his full race weekend debut in FP1 for the United States Grand Prix at Austin.

Palou has now put pen to paper on a reserve deal with the team for next season, with the Spaniard continuing his plans in IndyCar with Ganassi as well as deputising for Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri where needed next season.

“I’m excited to be part of the McLaren team as one of their reserve drivers in 2023,” Palou said upon the announcement of his role.

“I’ve been behind the wheel of both the MCL35M and MCL36 and it has been a great experience, so I can’t wait for the involvement with next year’s car.

“I look forward to continuing my development as a driver and I appreciate the trust McLaren have in me with this new role next year.”

Team principal Andreas Seidl added: “The team are pleased to have Alex on board as one of our reserve drivers for next season. He impressed with his FP1 session in Austin and his Driver Development tests this year.

“He has many notable motorsports achievements so far, particularly the 2021 INDYCAR championship title so it’s brilliant to be able to expand his role in the team and we look forward to working more closely with him.”

Palou finished fifth in this season’s IndyCar standings, finishing in the top 10 at 13 of the 17 races and winning the season finale at Laguna Seca, to take his fourth victory in the series and his 15th IndyCar podium.

Read more: How Sebastian Vettel unwittingly sparked F1’s craziest silly season yet