Alex Palou responds to Zak Brown’s no-show prediction

Michelle Foster
Alex Palou and Zak Brown

Alex Palou and McLaren could be heading to court.

Embroiled in a contract saga involving McLaren, Alex Palou says Zak Brown is spot on, he won’t be attending the Singapore Grand Prix as McLaren’s F1 reserve driver.

For the second year running Palou has found himself at the heart of a contractual dispute, this time with McLaren feeling aggrieved.

Last year they announced Palou signed a contract to race for McLaren in 2023 only for his IndyCar team, Chip Ganassi Racing, to insist he already had a deal with them.

Alex Palou: I’m not going to go to any F1 races

As the dust settled, Palou continued with CGR for the 2023 IndyCar season but would be heading to McLaren a year later. Only now, he’s not.

Palou has, according to McLaren CEO Zak Brown, decided against joining McLaren and will instead stay on at CGR prompting McLaren to take legal action against the driver for money already paid to him for the 2024 season.

With the IndyCar season now over, and Palou having won the title, the 26-year-old was expected to link up with McLaren at the Singapore Grand Prix where he would fill the team’s reserve driver role.

Brown recently told The Race that he doesn’t believe Palou will pitch.

“He’s still our reserve driver,” Brown said, before adding: “I don’t think he’s going to show up in Singapore, which he’s obligated to.”

The McLaren CEO added that Palou was “supposed to be with us every race post-season, as a reserve driver”, but that he’s “pretty sure” he won’t be at the Marina Bay circuit even though McLaren “got his hotel room booked”.

Palou has confirmed Brown is spot on, he won’t be in Singapore but that’s because he has IndyCar commitments.

Asked if Brown was right in saying he wouldn’t be at the race, the Spaniard told The Race: “Yeah. First of all, it’s because I can’t, just because of the championship [win] and we’re going to LA now [for prize giving] and then we have some testing for the ’24 car [Chip Ganassi Racing car].

“Yeah, the plan’s changed. I’m not going to go to any F1 races.” recommends

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

F1 2024 driver line-up: Who is confirmed for next season’s grid?

Alex Palou: I don’t think I have anything that it’s going to benefit him or me to say

Speaking to NBC Sport, Brown revealed he “started having questions around the month of May” as to whether Palou was committed to joining the Arrow McLaren team.

“I’d just say that’s when my antenna went up a little bit,” he added. “It wasn’t really until Nashville that it confirmed my suspicions.”

As the situation imploded, Brown was met with silence from Palou.

“I’ve not heard a single word from him personally since this all happened,” Brown said. “It’s pretty surprising how it’s been handled.

“There’s kind of what’s happened, but then there’s also how it’s been handled, and that’s probably as surprising as anything.”

Palou explained his side of the lack of communication.

“Honestly, that’s true, we’ve not spoken,” he said. “I don’t think I have anything that it’s going to benefit him or me to say at the moment.

“I don’t have any issues with him. Like if I see him, I’m not going to look to another side or walk to the other side.

“But yeah, at the moment I don’t think that we have something to talk about.”

Read next: Karun Chandhok’s ‘lucky’ escape from fiery Ferrari at the Goodwood Revival