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McLaren

Brown takes fresh swipe at Palou after latest driver deal

McLaren has added Hirakawa to its driver roster after Palou severed ties with the team.

Brown McLaren 2023
Article
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McLaren CEO Zak Brown has taken another swipe at IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou after the Woking-based outfit confirmed Ryo Hirakawa as a 2024 reserve driver.

Japanese driver Hirakawa will double up his duties alongside his Toyota World Endurance Championship commitments next season as he joins the roster of drivers that can offer their services in the case McLaren needs a stand-in for Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri.

Palou was originally supposed to fill such a position for the remainder of the current season and into next year when joining McLaren's IndyCar operation, only for the two-time series champion to U-turn on his switch from Chip Ganassi Racing.

Brown had been left disgruntled by Palou's decision to renege on the contract, which saw him draw criticism from his own management and the American took aim once more when discussing Hirakawa's hiring after first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Big talent

"We have a few reserve drivers with the schedule as big as it is," Brown told Sky Sports F1.

"Obviously, we had a reserve driver that has decided not to show up here for the second half of the year.

"Ryo is a big talent, we want to give him the opportunity to test our older car but if we need a reserve driver, we will make a determination.

"We have a few others under contract so in this day and age of F1, we need to have a small group of drivers and react if the situation presents itself where you need to put a driver in the car."

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