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F1

Brown takes aim at Palou as McLaren open legal action

The McLaren CEO has claimed he has had no direct interaction on the matter from Palou.

Alex Palou
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has publically revealed his disappointment in the Alex Palou contract saga for the first time.

The Spaniard was set to join the Woking-based outfit for 2024, pairing a drive for Arrow McLaren in IndyCar with F1 opportunities - potentially with a future full-time drive in mind.

This was after a separate saga involving McLaren and the current IndyCar Series leader last year, where Palou dismissed a contract extension with Chip Ganassi Racing to switch teams, only to remain with CGR following the triggering of legal action and a subsequent settlement.

As part of the agreement, Palou has undertaken testing opportunities for McLaren in both TPCs [Testing of Previous Cars] and FP1 at last year's United States Grand Prix.

However, Brown wrote in a company letter to employees that Palou had reneged on his agreement and will remain with CGR for next term.

Speaking outwardly for the first time on the topic when talking to media including RacingNews365.com, Brown explained: "Alex informed us he has no intention of honouring his contract with us in IndyCar or Formula 1.

"We have a contract, so it is now in a legal process that we filed in London courts against him both as a person and his business entity.

"We will just let the legal proceedings carry the situation forward.

"It is very disappointing. We had a very good relationship.

"He hasn't personally communicated with me about it which is rather disappointing given all we had done for him and the opportunities we have provided.

"I don't think his decision has anything to do with McLaren - our relationship is very strong - so I am very disappointed with how it has been handled on a personal level.

"All relationships with drivers is something that McLaren takes very seriously, we do a good job of creating a family environment for our drivers so to be let down, especially in that manner is pretty disappointing."

FP1 rookie run plan

F1 teams are obliged to run rookies [drivers with two race starts or less] in at least two FP1 sessions across a season.

McLaren split duties between Palou and its IndyCar star Patricio O'Ward but with the breakdown in relationship with the Spaniard, Brown insisted: "We have a few reserve drivers, last year we ran Pato and Alex, so I am working with Andrea to decide, it will be towards the end of the year so we have time to decide who we will put in the car for our FP1s and young driver test.

"So it is business as usual."

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