IndyCar star snubs McLaren contract as Alpine veteran comes under fire – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
F1 news round-up of Alex Palou and Alan Permane.

F1 news round-up of Alex Palou and Alan Permane.

Saturday’s F1 news showed us that silly season is well and truly underway, at least in the United States, with the 2021 IndyCar champion at the centre of it.

After an overnight story breaking about his future at McLaren’s outfit there, it all fuelled rumours about what his future might hold – and whether or not that may even include a place in Formula 1 in future.

Considering it’s a Saturday on the summer break, a lot has happened – so let’s dive into today’s F1 news.

Alex Palou reneges on McLaren IndyCar commitment for 2024

Breaking overnight on Friday and into Saturday was the news that 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou was to pull out of his contract to join the Arrow McLaren team in the series next season.

This has prompted all sorts of response from in and out of the series, not least from McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who was reported by the Associated Press to have told colleagues of the “incredibly disappointing” news.

“We have paid him a significant first payment toward his 2024 season in addition to the millions of dollars toward developing him in our Formula 1 testing program and in his reserve driver role with a potential drive in F1 in the future,” Brown wrote.

“Unfortunately, it now appears our belief, commitment, investment and trust in Alex was misplaced as it is not being reciprocated.”

Read more: McLaren boss reveals ‘incredibly disappointing’ shock twist in Alex Palou contract saga

Alex Palou splits from management team after McLaren deal falls

After Palou pulled out of his agreement with McLaren, the management team that brokered the deal for him, Monaco Increase Management, severed their ties with the 26-year-old Spaniard.

“Monaco Increase Management is bitterly disappointed to learn about Alex Palou’s decision to break an existing agreement with McLaren for 2024 and beyond,” their statement reads.

“Together, we had built a relationship that we thought went beyond any contractual obligation and culminated in winning the 2021 IndyCar crown and tracing a path to F1 opportunities.

“Life goes on and we wish Alex all the best for his future achievements.”

Read more: Alex Palou blasted by management team as split confirmed over McLaren drama

Chip Ganassi slams McLaren management as saga unfolds

Unsurprisingly, Chip Ganassi, who Palou currently for in IndyCar, has not taken kindly to McLaren’s advances for his driver, and has now responded to the move after it has broken down.

Ganassi actively sued Palou last year to ensure he fulfilled his contractual duties to drive for him in 2023, while allowing him to fulfil F1 reserve duties for McLaren.

But when it comes to the way his proposed move for 2024 has unfolded, he made it clear he has not got much time for how McLaren’s top brass have gone about things.

“I grew up respecting the McLaren Team and their success. The new management does not get my same respect,” he wrote in a statement.

“Alex Palou has been a part of our team and under contract since the 2021 season. It is the interference of McLaren that began this process and, ironically, they are now playing the victim.

“Simply stated, the position of McLaren INDYCAR regarding our driver is inaccurate and wrong; he remains under contract with CGR.”

Read more: McLaren accused of ‘playing the victim’ in scathing statement as Alex Palou saga continues

If F1 move does happen for Palou, he’s been backed by a motorsport legend

In an interview with PlanetF1.com, 1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti believes the Spaniard has what it takes to succeed in Formula 1, or anywhere he ends up racing.

“I’ll tell you, [Alex] is certainly some special talent, no question about it,” he said.

“You can always gauge by who the team-mates are, and his team-mates are top-level as well. He’s showing something very special, in every race.

“He’s very versatile also, you take him to the difficulty of a specialty street course, you take him on an oval… you take them anywhere, and it seems like he adapts to it.

“He’s right at the very top, no matter where you take him. So he is a valuable talent for any team, in my opinion. He will do very well, wherever he goes, including Formula 1.”

Read more: Why IndyCar Champion Alex Palou would do ‘very well’ in Formula 1

Former F1 driver claims Alan Permane ‘couldn’t stand French drivers’

Former Super Aguri driver Franck Montagny, who spent several years at ‘Team Enstone’ in its Renault days as a test driver, has become a rare voice speaking out in support of Alpine terminating Alan Permane’s contract.

The long-time sporting director, who spent 34 years at the team dating back to its days as Benetton, was heavily criticised by the Frenchman, who did not have many kind words to say about Permane in a video he put out on social media, defending the team’s decision to get shot of him and team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

“You have to remember that guys like Permane said recently that if they had a good engine and other drivers, they wouldn’t be on the podium in Monaco, they’d be on the double [podium],” said Montagny.

“Because you should also know that Permane can’t stand French drivers.

“If you look at Alpine’s results over the last five years, Alpine, Renault, whatever mix you want, Lotus, it’s all the same.

“It’s always, ‘we’re going to try to get into the top bracket, we’re trying to score points.’ And from time to time, when the opportunity arises, you need a podium finish or a win.

“But the car’s performance has been the same for five years. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t evolve, it doesn’t work.”

Read more: Ex-F1 driver tears into ousted Alpine stalwart, claims he ‘couldn’t stand French drivers’