September 29, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Palou rejects McLaren IndyCar contract for 2024

Palou rejects McLaren IndyCar contract for 2024

This latest contractual saga follows a drawn-out legal battle over his services for 2023, when Ganassi sued his driver after he signed a contract with McLaren in the summer of 2022.

The legal mediation saw him stay with Ganassi for the season, as it looked certain he would claim his second title, but allowed him to drive McLaren Formula 1 cars and serve as the team’s reserve driver in Formula 1.

He looked set to join the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team for 2024 so far.

In a statement, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said: “I am extremely disappointed that Alex Palou does not intend to fulfill his contractual obligations to race with us at IndyCar in 2024 and beyond.”

In a letter sent to McLaren employees after final practice in Indianapolis on Friday night, first reported by the Associated Press, Brown wrote: “This is incredibly disappointing, given the commitment he has made to us directly and publicly and our significant investment in it based on that commitment. “.

He also noted “the time, money and resources that go into preparing to welcome Alex to our team because we believe in him and look forward to an IndyCar win with him.”

Alex Ballou, McLaren F1 Testing in Barcelona

Photography: Monaco Increase Department

Palou has been an integral part of the McLaren F1 TPC (Pre-Car Testing) program, most recently driving at the Hungaroring in June – alongside regular race driver Oscar Piastri – after previous tests at the Red Bull Ring and Barcelona.

He also drove in Free Practice 1 at the US Grand Prix last year and was present at the Miami Grand Prix in May as a reserve driver for McLaren.

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The saga took another turn on Saturday as it was revealed Palou had split from his management company Monaco Increase Management, which released a statement of its own saying it was “bitterly disappointed” with his decision.

The statement read: “Monaco Increase Management is bitterly disappointed to learn of Alex Ballou’s decision to breach an existing agreement with McLaren for 2024 and beyond.

“Together, we built a relationship that we believed exceeded any contractual obligation and culminated in winning the 2021 IndyCar crown and tracing a path to F1 opportunities.

“Life goes on and we wish Alex all the best in his future accomplishments.”

MIM has been active on the F1 circuit representing Palou, where McLaren was understood to have a multi-million pound takeover deal until July 1, but confirmed this week that he had no interest from other F1 teams.

All signs now point to a multi-year renewal with Ganassi, with a seven-figure salary that would likely make him the highest paid driver in the series.