Contractual uncertainty surrounding current NTT IndyCar Series points leader Alex Palou and the McLaren team has once again come to the surface after Palou informed McLaren boss Zak Brown that he does not intend to move forward with his anticipated move to the Arrow McLaren IndyCar squad in 2024.
A letter sent from Brown to Arrow McLaren employees detailed that Palou has “no intention of honoring his contract” with McLaren for 2024, according to the Associated Press.
The contractual situation between Palou, McLaren and his current team, Chip Ganassi Racing, was the center of rampant confusion and speculation throughout 2022 and even into the 2023 IndyCar season, over which the Spaniard currently holds a dominant point lead.
In his letter distributed to Arrow McLaren staff, Brown described the situation as “incredibly disappointing considering the commitment he 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,” Brown’s letter explained. “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.”
The team also provided a statement to The Indianapolis Star on behalf of Brown after the initial report from AP.
“I’m extremely disappointed that Alex Palou does not intend to honor his contractual obligations to race with us in IndyCar in 2024 and beyond,” the statement said. “That is all I have to say on the topic for the time being.”
Frontstretch has reached out to Palou for his comments on the matter.
Update (August 12th, 12:40 p.m. ET): Chip Ganassi Racing, Palou’s current race team, has issued a response to McLaren’s statement to The Indianapolis Star and obtusely to the internal statement reported by the AP.
The statement in full, which is attributed from owner Chip Ganassi:
“Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t make a habit of commenting about contract situations. Subsequently, I have been quiet since day one of this story but now I feel I must respond. I grew up respecting the McLaren Team and their success. The new management does not get my same respect.
“Alex Palou has been a part of our team and under contract since the 2021 season. It is the interference of that contract from McLaren that began this process and ironically, they are now playing the victim. Simply stated, the position of McLaren INDYCAR regarding our driver is inaccurate and wrong; he remains under contract with CGR.”
Palou has still not responded to Frontstretch’s inquiry on this situation.
About the author
Alex is the IndyCar Editor at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also Co-founded The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region, in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.
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