Revealed: The F1 options available to Alex Palou after McLaren snub

Sam Cooper
Alex Palou wearing sunglasses.

Is Alex Palou destined for life in F1?

IndyCar star Alex Palou has burnt his bridges with McLaren so where could a potential F1 future now lie?

For a normal Formula 1 summer break, the silly season has been decidedly less silly than in recent years. So our thanks should go to Zak Brown and his revelation that Palou would not be completing an expected move to McLaren in 2024.

There are numerous possible reasons behind this call but could one of them be that the IndyCar championship leader has been offered an F1 seat? If that is the case, who is chasing the signature of the Spaniard?

Where could Alex Palou go on the F1 grid?

AlphaTauri

Of all the 2024 seats, it is the AlphaTauri team that is the most uncertain right now.

Yuki Tsunoda looks likely to be handed a contract extension but with Daniel Ricciardo only on loan, there is every chance he is not in the second seat come 2024.

Liam Lawson is seemingly on the verge of an F1 breakthrough after impressing in Super Formula but what if Red Bull decide to go a different way?

The Milton Keynes outfit have shown they are willing to look at IndyCar talents having gone after Colton Herta last year but while Herta lacked the superlicence points, Palou certainly does not.

At 26, Palou would be on the older end of drivers inducted by the Red Bull sister outfit but with Nyck de Vries and now Ricciardo, Red Bull have shown they are willing to bend their own rules should they feel it is worth it.

Williams

Another option could be for Palou to head to Grove and join the blossoming Williams project under the guidance of James Vowles. Alex Albon’s place in the team is secured until the end of 2024 but the future of Logan Satgeant is less certain.

With De Vries now out of the picture, a greater spotlight has been placed on Sargeant who has so far struggled to get up to speed in F1.

But while De Vries did not have age on his side, the 22-year-old Sargeant does, so perhaps Williams may opt to drop the American from the F1 grid for a short while and have him return at a later date.

In that scenario, Palou may well represent the best option for Williams to go out and get what may well be a two-time IndyCar champion.

It would also be a show of intent with Williams not having either a rookie or a clear pay driver in the seat.

Haas

It may not be the American driver that a section of fans have been calling for but an IndyCar star would make Haas seem at least somewhat more American than they currently are.

While Nico Hulkenberg looks pretty likely to see his contract extended, it is less certain that team-mate Kevin Maggnussen’s will after he has struggled to live up to the standards set last year.

Guenther Steiner has made it clear he does not want to go down the rookie route again after having his fingers burned by Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, but Palou would not be your standard rookie and should he replicate even half of his IndyCar form in F1 then that would more than match the expectations of Haas.

Mercedes

Of all the options on this list, this one seems the most unlikely but who would have predicted something like Oscar Piastri swapping Alpine for McLaren last year?

Mercedes are one of the teams with a question mark over their driver pairing with Lewis Hamilton’s supposedly near-finished extension still rumbling on but what if worst comes to worst and the seven-time champion does depart Brackley?

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 team principals: How long has each team boss been in charge?

Top 10: The drivers with the highest win percentages in F1 history

The Silver Arrows would no doubt want one of the sport’s top drivers but the reality is most of them are tied into expensive contracts until at least the end of 2024, not to mention Mercedes may have left it too late to get a deal if they are true to their word that they have not looked at other driver candidates.

So could Palou work as a stop gap with potential? If they drop the 26-year-old in and he performs well then Mercedes may have unearthed a gem that could partner George Russell for years.

If not, cut your ties and go after the likes of Charles Leclerc or Lando Norris when their contract ends.

As stated, this situation seems unlikely but there could be some joy in it for Mercedes.

Read next: Williams embroiled in $100m legal battle involving fraud and adultery claims