Alex Palou is convinced he will be with the McLaren family next season, his lawyer accusing Chip Ganassi of attempting to keep him from an “opportunity to compete in Formula 1”.
Earlier this month McLaren announced they had signed the reigning IndyCar champion to the McLaren fold, interestingly not actually mentioning IndyCar in the press release.
What McLaren CEO Zak Brown did say was that he was “looking forward to seeing him get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car as part of our Testing of Previous Cars programme.”
However, it was clear from the get-go that Palou’s move to McLaren would not be smooth sailing as hours prior to the McLaren announcement, his current IndyCar team Ganassi had publicly stated they’d taken up their option on the driver for 2023.
Palou refuted this, adamant he was off to McLaren.
Ganassi have since launched legal proceedings against the driver, saying “as the result of a competing racing team improperly attempting to contract with him notwithstanding the clear terms of our contract, we are proceeding to legal process pursuant to the contract”.
His lawyer has hit back.
“We are disappointed that Chip Ganassi Racing would attempt to keep Alex from an opportunity to compete in Formula 1, and even more so with CGR’s public court filings and continued commentary to the press on this matter,” said Rachel E. Epstein according to The Race.
¡Hola Alex! 🇪🇸
Our full driver line-up across all racing series will be confirmed in due course.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) July 12, 2022
As for Palou, the driver is convinced he’ll be a McLaren driver next season.
“I’ll be in the family, yeah,” he said.
Asked whether in light of the legal proceedings he felt he had been ill-advised by his management, the 24-year-old said he had “no issues” with his team.
“I have people that have been around me for a long time. And I know they care about me, and they’ll do everything that is best for me and my interest and for my career.”
He said he is “ready” to fight Ganassi for his McLaren move to go ahead as planned.
“To be honest, I was ready for it,” he said. “I think everything exploded before Toronto and from that moment, I knew it was going to come.
“I didn’t know if it was going to come in three days or two weeks. But yeah, I was ready for it.”
Although McLaren didn’t specifically state that Palou would be with their IndyCar team, that is who he is expected to race for next season given that McLaren’s F1 line up is full.
Both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo have contracts for 2023 with the under-fire Aussie adamant he is not going anywhere.