McLaren and Alex Palou to meet in court after team files lawsuits

Michelle Foster
McLaren IndyCar racing driver Alex Palou.

IndyCar Champion Alex Palou, racing with McLaren.

McLaren and Alex Palou will meet in court with the racing team filing a lawsuit against the IndyCar driver after revealing he won’t race for their IndyCar team next season.

Palou has been at the heart of a tussle between his current IndyCar team, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Arrow McLaren over his services, one that began last year already.

Last July McLaren announced Palou had signed with them for the 2023 season only for Chip Ganassi Racing to declare he was their driver before an agreement was reached between the three parties that would see Palou race for Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar but test with McLaren in F1 with the driver expected to join McLaren for the 2024 season.

McLaren: We’re placing our trust in the legal system to resolve this matter

However, last week McLaren CEO Zak Brown announced Palou had “no intention of honouring his contract with the team for 2024 and thereafter” with Chip Ganassi responding to that by accusing McLaren of “playing the victims”.

They’ll now meet in court.

According to the IndyStar newspaper, McLaren Racing Limited and McLaren Indy have jointly sued Palou and his racing entity, ALPA Racing USA, in separate lawsuits in the UK.

The lawsuits were filed over the past week and, instead of trying to force Palou to honour his driving agreements for next season, they were categorised such that the goal is to reclaim money from the defendant.

According to the court records, McLaren Racing Limited and McLaren Indy, LLC, have hired Morgan Lewis & Bockius (UK) to represent them.

Brown confirmed the lawsuits to Forbes: “We made a significant investment in Alex Palou, looking forward to racing with him in 2024. We’re placing our trust in the legal system to resolve this matter and will keep our comments at that.

“As a team, we’re turning our focus to the final races this season and on our plans for 2024, which we’ll announce once we’re ready.”

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McLaren’s reason for reclaiming money is that in Brown’s revelation last week that Palou would not race for the team in 2024, he stated that McLaren had “paid (Palou) 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.”

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

“This is incredibly disappointing, considering the commitment (Alex) has made to us both directly and publicly and our significant investment in him based on that commitment. We dedicated a lot of time, money, and resources preparing to welcome Alex into our team because we believed in him and were looking forward to IndyCar wins with him.

“Coming out of his team dispute last fall, we were assured by Alex of his commitment to Arrow McLaren reflected in the contract he entered into with us.”

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