McLaren sues Palou over IndyCar contract payments – reports

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In the round-up: McLaren Racing and its IndyCar team have reportedly filed lawsuits against Alex Palou in British court

In brief

McLaren sues Palou over IndyCar contract payments – reports

After McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown revealed that IndyCar points leader Alex Palou intends not to honour his contract to race for McLaren’s IndyCar team for 2024, McLaren have reportedly begun legal action against the Chip Ganassi driver.

Palou sparked a dispute between Chip Ganassi and McLaren after signing a contract last year to race with McLaren. Eventually an agreement was reached for Palou to race with Ganassi for 2023 but running a test and Friday practice programme with McLaren’s F1 team.

The Indy Star now reports that McLaren are suing Palou in the United Kingdom over an advance payment for his driving services for the 2024 season. Palou holds a lead of 101 points in the IndyCar standings with three rounds remaining in the championship.

Gow to return to F1 paddock after stroke

British motorsport reporter Jennie Gow has announced she will return to the F1 paddock at the upcoming Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort for the first time since surviving a stroke.

The journalist, who has covered multiple racing series from Formula 1, Formula E, Extreme E and others for TV and radio for BBC, ITV and Sky, has been absent from the F1 paddock all season while she recovered from a sudden stroke in December.

“I’m delighted – and a little nervous – to say that I will be returning to the F1 circuit for the Dutch GP,” Gow posted on social media.

“It’s been almost eight months since my stroke and I’m still not able to do all the things I could before, but IMG, BBC Radio 5Live and F1 are going to help me get back into the pit lane to see how I go.”

Button to race Petit Le Mans

Jenson Button, the 2009 F1 world champion, will compete in October’s Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta in the IMSA sportscar championship for JDC Miller MotorSports alongside regular drivers Tijmen van der Helm and Mike Rockenfeller, who Button raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours with.

The team compete in the top class of the North America-based sportscar series. It is his latest venture into North American motorsport following his drives in the NASCAR Cup Series this season.

“The Porsche 963, the IMSA Sportscar Championship, and Road Atlanta are all brand new to me so I can’t wait to tackle all three with my teammates for the weekend,” Button said.

“I partnered with Rocky at Le Mans this year and he will be invaluable as he’s fantastic at car/team development. He is also incredibly quick, which always helps.”

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Comment of the day

News that Felipe Massa is taking the FIA and F1 to court over the events of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix led to many of you rolling your eyes, but not Dr Mouse

At the end of the day, he’s not going to get a championship from this.

However, there is evidence that the FIA’s actions cost him significant amounts of money. For a civil case like this, all he needs to do is show that in the balance of probability, without the FIA’s actions, he would have finished higher than he did and gained bonuses etc because of that, possibly that he would have made more money in his later career due to having a championship. This isn’t a criminal case, so all he has to do is prove that it’s likely, better than 50/50, that this is the case.

This could well amount to millions.

To be honest, I support him bringing this case. If the FIA and FOM did know and chose to keep quiet, as Ecclestone has said, then they need punishing for that, and they should be compensating anyone who lost out. They shouldn’t, and can’t, change the record books, but they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with such behaviour.
Dr Mouse

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Harry Palmer, Sue and Isaac!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1973 Ronnie Peterson won the Austrian Grand Prix, having let him championship contending team mate Emerson Fittipaldi into the lead, only for his car to suffer a fuel line breakage

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16 comments on “McLaren sues Palou over IndyCar contract payments – reports”

  1. One piece of good news stands out from all the others (unless you’re a lawyer) and that’s the return of Jennie Gow.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      19th August 2023, 21:47

      Great news!

    2. Very happy about Jennie Gow returning! That is good news @bullfrog

    3. Yeah, it’s something to look forward to for the Dutch GP!

  2. People have clearly forgotten Red Bull isn’t an organization known for giving second chances in their main team to demoted drivers.
    Therefore, I don’t get that people still bother speculating something that won’t happen anyway.
    Pondering him just because he happens to be a former is pointless & otherwise, people should as well do the same with Sainz, Gasly (despite belonging to the same group of demoted drivers as Albon & Kvyat), etc.

    Lawson definitely deserves a chance for his performance level this year, so whichever AlphaTauri driver performs worse over the remaining season, assuming Checo’s performance level doesn’t drop again.

    While Massa may have lost possible bonuses (millions or not) at the time, he earned well over his entire time racing in F1, so hardly a loss relatively in this regard, although I still see the point.

    1. @jerejj

      Honestly, if Red Bull didn’t believe in second chances.. then why do they have Ricciardo lined up as Perez’s replacement? I think Red bull doesn’t have any rules set in stone.. they always evaluate the best options avaiable to them and then give it a shot. Their shot might not last long for some drivers.. but nonetheless they are flexible enough to give a driver a 2nd chance.

      I think Albon shuld definitely be on their radar. My guess is that Red Bull will make a strong play for either Norris or Piastri.. but if they can’t secure either driver, and if Ricciardo starts to flail at Alpha, then Albon becomes the top conteder for that 2nd Red Bull seat.

  3. It may be that the FIA/FOM need to be punished for not acting upon Crashgate at the time, but it is not Felipe Massa who they need to pay the money to because he didn’t lose anything because of it. In fact, it is Lewis Hamilton who was cost victory in Singapore because of it as Rosberg also inadvertently benefitted from that safety car. Massa left the pits with the refuelling rig attached, that is nothing to do with Crashgate. Perhaps Renault deserve to lose their race victory, although that decision cannot be made 15 years later, it would surely have to have been made within a year for it to happen, but nothing more than that.

    The whole idea that if one team cheats then the entire race should be declared null and void and expunged from the history books is complete rubbish and there is absolutely no precedent. If there was, Alain Prost can sue for the 1984 championship as Tyrrell got the first 13 races deleted and he wins with 18 points from the last three. Even if we limit it to ‘race-fixing,’ the 2010 German Grand Prix needs to go due to the team orders used, that were illegal at the time. And as McLaren cheated throughout the 2007 season, that whole season should be removed from the history books and Ferrari lose their title.

  4. Palou’s action is quite incomprehensible. If he has a contract with McLaren for 2024, then Ganassi should by it out and settle the case privately. I hope McLaren get some good money out of this.

    As for Massa, Alonso should be stripped of his win, but that doesn’t give Massa the title (and the millions that go with it). That seems very contrived, and to be honest very boring too.

    1. It has absolutely nothing to do with Ganassi. They had a signed contract end of their story. Palou signed a contract for the same contract period with McLaren. He double dipped and lost the court case with Ganassi.

      Beef is between McLaren and Palou. Ganassi don’t have a contract to buy out for they had already bought in and sealed the deal. McLaren did not do due diligence before paying for services it was in no contractual position to receive.

      Surely McLaren should have had the smarts to give Ganassi a call in regards the Palou contract position? McLaren should have bought out Palou’s contract with Ganassi, not the other way round.

      Much like football transfers are negotiated.

    2. Meh, I get it that Palou was miffed by how Ganassi treated him, he felt he was not respected and treated as well as he deserved, so he let himself get talked over by Zak with the lure of the F1 drive and a pre payment. I’m sure that looked like a great deal at the time.

      But since then Ganassi has changed their stance, have fought for his services and have given him the support he needs to become champion once again, so why would he leave for an uncertain future at McLaren and even less certainty with regards to F1 (with both Norris and Piastri looking good for another few seasons there at the moment)?

      Sure, McLaren will sue for the up front payments, and they might well win. But does that matter much for Palou? It is only money, afterall. As for Ganassi and McLaren, there is clearly some element of getting one over on a rival between them, so neither would be consulting anything with the other, or at least not in good faight!

      1. Depends who had the first contract but Palou is going to suffer if doesn’t have the money..

        But if mcLaren had the first sign they could force him to drive for them but that can both team settle them self.

  5. We knew this was coming. Alex shouldn’t be going through his mess again.

  6. So Palou was paid an advance for the 2024 season, why isn’t he simply giving it back? But I don’t get why he had to be paid it in the first place, he’s not short with the rent is he? It’s the kind of thing a dodgy tradesperson asks for, money up front then they don’t turn up!

    1. I guess it all depends on what is in the details of their contract and how those things can be interpreted. If there’s a decent chance Palou might keep (some) of the money, he can see the case through.
      Or now that it’s brought, we could get a press statement that the parties have settled out of court before it ever comes before a judge, as is rather typical for those kinds of cases.

  7. Palou was under contact with Ganassi and that contract has a stipulation that he couldn’t sign another contract until September 2023.

    Palou signs a contract with McLaren prior to September 2023. I will speculate that the McLaren contract has wording stating that the signee is free to sign this contract and is not under another contract. Don’t see how McLaren loses a lawsuit.

  8. Petit Le Man’s i.e. 10 hours of Road Atlanta is typically an excellent race. Will be interesting to see how we Button does.

Comments are closed.