McLaren legal battle with Alex Palou ‘just a little speed bump’ as saga continues

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

Alex Palou will not be a McLaren driver in 2024.

Embroiled in a contractual saga for the second year running, Alex Palou’s IndyCar boss Chip Ganassi says his driver’s McLaren troubles are “just a little speed bump”.

Last year McLaren announced they’d signed Palou only for Chip Ganassi Racing to put out a press release insisting he was still under contract.

As that played out behind closed doors, it was announced the Spaniard would continue with CGR as an IndyCar driver for the 2023 season while also filling a reserve driver role for McLaren in Formula 1.

Alex Palou: And that’s my comment, let’s say

He was expected to then join McLaren’s IndyCar team in 2024, potentially making the switch to Formula 1 in the years to come.

Palou, though, pulled out of the McLaren deal, sparking a court case with the papaya team claiming $23 million damages against the driver for breach of contract.

Palou admitted in court papers filed that he had breached the contract, but claimed he “lost trust and confidence that (McLaren) genuinely intended to support his ambition to race in the Formula One Series and decided to continue racing with CGR in the Indy Car Series instead”.

Palou had little to say about the matter when quizzed about it during a press conference to announce his new primary sponsor, DHL.

“It’s still ongoing,” he said. “As it’s still not closed yet, I cannot really comment more of what’s been already released.

“Yeah, whatever all the documents and everything that my lawyer said are true, and that’s my comment, let’s say.

“Yeah, once everything is settled, once everything is done, I’ll be hopefully able to answer more questions in detail.”

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As for his team boss Ganassi, who one might have assumed would be frustrated with two years of legal wranglings, he brushed it aside.

“I think the good news about Alex, nothing sort of on the periphery seems to affect him on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said as per Motorsport.com.

“When you look over his record with our team, you can see that he’s had 50 starts with our team, and in those 50 starts he’s had 24 podiums. Think about that, 24 podiums in 50 starts with Chip Ganassi Racing.

“He’s only the second guy to win multiple championships at 26 years old or under in the hundred-year history of IndyCar racing. When you look at statistics like that, he knows he has our unwavering support in anything he wants to do.

“This is just a little speed bump along the way.”

Last season Palou won the IndyCar title with Ganassi, his second in three years with the team.

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