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Alex Palou

IndyCar champion Palou explains why he renegaded on McLaren F1 deal

Alex Palou agreed a switch to McLaren's IndyCar programme with a chance of F1, but went back and decided to stay at Ganassi.

F1 reserve coureur reserve driver Alex Palou Mc Laren 2022
To news overview © XPBimages

IndyCar champion Alex Palou decided to go back on his planned move to McLaren because he felt "too old" to wait for a Formula 1 opportunity.

As defending champion back in 2022, Chip Ganassi decided to take up the option in Palou's contract to extend his stay in the #10 machine, but Palou informed him that he intended to depart for McLaren's IndyCar team for the 2023 season.

Ganassi promptly sued Palou, believing he had an exclusive right over the Spanish driver for the 2023 season - with a remedy coming in Palou staying for 2023, but also taking up test and reserve driver roles with the McLaren F1 operation before a planned switch to the IndyCar team for 2024.

However, after private testing and an appearance in FP1 at the 2022 United States Grand Prix, Palou then informed Ganassi of his desire to stay - and broke his McLaren contract.

McLaren then sued Palou in the UK courts, attempting to recoup some $23 million for a breach of contract, something Palou has admitted to as he seeks to lessen the damages he must pay.

He then won the 2023 IndyCar title in crushing fashion, and is also set to take part for Ganassi in this weekend's Daytona 24 hours, having committed his future to the team.

When asked why he had taken the decision to renegade on the McLaren agreement, Palou indicated that he felt the F1 window had closed.

"I think this drama has made us a lot closer," Palou explained to AP.

"Why? I don’t know. Now we just have a normal relationship. When you break one time with your girlfriend, then you are even better because you understand each other and all of the previous issues, and suddenly it is a better relationship."

When asked why he was prepared to walk away from the McLaren contract, Palou added that he was not prepared to sit around and wait for an opportunity in F1.

"There were no signs that anything was going to open for me in F1," he said, after completing simulator work.

"I am too told to wait and see if someone get hurt and that is how I can get my chance.

"Pato can wait for someone to get hurt."

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