IndyCar sensation linked to no fewer than four F1 teams for 2024

Michelle Foster
Alex Palou with his IndyCar champions ring. California September 2021

Chip Ganassi driver Alex Palou shows off his IndyCar champion's ring. California September 2021

Runaway IndyCar championship leader Alex Palou is said to be holding the keys to the American series’ silly season, and perhaps also to Formula 1’s.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has been the star of this year’s championship with three wins in eight races that have seen him race out to a 74-point lead over former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson.

It, however, could’ve been a different story as last July, Arrow McLaren announced Palou for the 2023 IndyCar season leading to a brief legal wrangle with Ganassi for the driver’s services with the latter winning that round. But just for 2023 with Palou allowed to test for McLaren’s F1 team and set to join McLaren in 2024.

But although he is thought to have a McLaren contract in place for the 2024 season, one for IndyCar and not F1 given their F1 line-up is all but set in stone, he is now being linked to rival Formula 1 teams.

According to IndyStar, ‘the keys to IndyCar’s current Silly Season lie in the hands of Formula 1 team principals mulling possible driver changes ahead of their 2024 campaign.

‘Should Franz Tost (AlphaTauri), James Vowles (Williams), Guenther Steiner (Haas) or Alessandro Alunni Bravi (Alfa Romeo) be interested in a driver who won an IndyCar championship in his first season with a front-running team – and who appears to be on his way to a second in three seasons – then Alex Palou can be had for a 2024 F1 ride.’ recommends

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“But,” the report added, “the clock is ticking, with an all-important end of July deadline that has to play out. Until that happens, IndyCar’s soon-to-be-chaotic silly season market, even at the top of the grid, cannot get underway.’

Chip Ganassi Racing have reportedly offered the 26-year-old a ‘$4 million per year’ deal to change his mind about swapping to McLaren in IndyCar, but it seems Ganassi’s biggest threat could come from F1 and not McLaren.

‘Palou’s Monaco Increased Management team has been making a full-court press to try and find a ride for the 26-year-old Spaniard to slot into for the 2024 F1 campaign,’ claimed the American newspaper.

‘Members of the small operation have been seen at various F1 events, with one paddock member with ties to the F1 world telling IndyStar they were seen fraternising with “just about every team” at the Barcelona round earlier this month.

‘The urgency is understood to be due to a clause in Palou’s deal with McLaren that gives him an out, should he find an F1 opportunity outside McLaren by the end of July.’

There are, however, only a handful of F1 teams who could, theoretically, have space for the Spaniard for next year’s championship – and they are all at the back of the grid.

Alfa Romeo, Haas, Williams and AlphaTauri have open seats with the latter two, Williams with Logan Sargeant and AlphaTauri with Nyck de Vries, also with drivers yet to perform.

But whether Palou would want to swap winning races in IndyCar for scoring points, and not that often, in F1 is anyone’s guess as the Spaniard has yet to comment on his 2024 plans, or expectations.

However, his fellow racer Stefan Wilson believes F1 should be knocking on Palou’s door.

“What Alex Palou is doing in IndyCar right now is so impressive,” tweeted Wilson. “It would be so interesting to switch him into that 2nd Red Bull and see what he could do in F1.”