Palou denies Ganassi’s claim he will stay as McLaren announce him as 2023 driver


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Alex Palou has caused a sensation by denying he will continue to drive for Ganassi next year hours after the team announced it had taken up an option on his services.

Soon afterwards McLaren announced the reigning IndyCar champion will join them in 2023 and participate in a Formula 1 test programme similar to that of Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward.

Ganassi issued a press release on Tuesday which stated the team had taken up an option on Palou for 2023. However in a statement on social media Palou said Ganassi’s announcement was inaccurate and he had not issued the accompanying quote which the team attributed to him.

“I have recently learned from the media that this afternoon, without my approval, Chip Ganassi Racing issued a press release announcing that I would be driving with CGR in 2023,” said Palou. “Even more surprising was that CGR’s release included a ‘quote’ which did not come from me.

“I did not approve that press release, and I did not author or approve that quote. As I have recently informed CGR, for personal reasons, I do not intend to continue with the team after 2022.

“This evening’s unfortunate events aside, I have great respect for the CGR team, and look forward to finishing this season strongly together.”

Shortly after Palou rejected Ganassi’s claim he will remain at the team, McLaren announced he will join them next year.

“We have always said that we want the best talent at McLaren, and it’s exciting to be able to include Alex on that list,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “I’m also looking forward to seeing him get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car as part of our Testing of Previous Cars programme alongside Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta as we continue to build our driver talent.”

While McLaren hasn’t confirmed how it will divide its drivers between its various teams, Palou is likely to slot in alongside O’Ward and fellow newcomer Alexander Rossi as part of a three-strong IndyCar line-up. Felix Rosenqvist, who currently drives for the team in IndyCar and recently extended his contract, is tipped to return to Formula E as part of McLaren’s new entry into the all-electric single-seater series.

“Our full driver line-up across all racing series will be confirmed in due course,” said McLaren.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Palou denies Ganassi’s claim he will stay as McLaren announce him as 2023 driver”

  1. Seems the previous posted story was deleted instead of edited. Oh well. I stand by my timely and inadvertently hilarious comment that bit the dust. Childress and Ganassi need to have a beer together.

    1. It is still there Steve K. Just lower down the page since it gets far less attention now that this additional information about the move by Ganassi and the reaction from Palou (and McLaren) came out

  2. On the upside, someone just made a nice bit of money.

    And just when you think Indycar could turn into a professional series under new ownership, someone pulls a reverse Kaltenborn.

    1. I find IndyCar to be far more professional and drama free than Formula One.

    2. This has nothing to do with IndyCar, its a contract dispute between teams. Obviously Palou didn’t sign one with Ganassi.

  3. Oh good, a Jenson Button scenario. We haven’t had one of those for ages.

    1. Yay, something to write about during the summer! I guess we will get more “juicy” details from both sides over the coming weeks

    2. @red-andy I remember Sauber signing 3-4 drivers for 2 seats but I have forgotten what happened to Jenson?

      1. Button wanted to leave BAR at the end of 2004 to go to Williams, but BAR had an option on Button for that season, so they made him stay for another year. Then he signed another deal with Williams to go there for the 2006 season, BAR and Honda became a thing and he decided to go back on the Williams deal to stay with BAR.

  4. I guess now he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder ……..

    1. @eljueta “ba-dum-bum-CHING!” It is a bit odd in a sport where there are more drivers than seats when a driver ends up with two.

      1. @bernasaurus true, I didn’t even realize that because my brain was entirely focused on the awful pun.

  5. I really dislike how McLaren can stir the pot in IndyCar with the Formula 1 lure it gives to its IndyCar drivers.
    This is not healthy for IndyCar.

    1. I disagree, there has been a lot of cross over between the 2 series that couple of years and I think it is exciting for the drivers to have options in either series.

  6. The Indy press release is very odd. I wonder what the back story on that being released is.

  7. This could get messy. I wonder if he’ll be racing in Toronto this weekend?

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