Palou refutes Ganassi contract announcement

Alex Palou

Alex Palou claims he will not drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2023, after both that team and McLaren Racing claimed to have signed a contract with him.

Both organisations have issued press releases in recent hours to pronounce they have reached a deal with the 2021 IndyCar champion for next year.

Ganassi went first, claiming it had taken up its option on Palou’s services, before McLaren’s communication to media about a deal which is said to include Formula 1 testing.

While, coincidentally, Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver Colton Herta tested an MCL35M overnight, McLaren’s Palou announcement specifically referred to racing with the organisation also.

The driver at the centre of the mess wrote on Twitter, “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.

“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.”

That would indicate Palou will indeed drive the #10 Honda this weekend in Toronto, notwithstanding his dissatisfaction around Ganassi’s announcement.

It is not uncommon in public relations for quotes to be written on someone else’s behalf, and approved by the person to whom they are attributed before the press release is issued to news outlets.

In this case, Palou is claiming that process was not followed through.

Intriguing also is that McLaren’s announcement does not actually commit the 25-year-old to racing in any particular competition.

McLaren has confirmed to Speedcafe.com that Palou will race for the team in 2023, though is yet to confirm which category.

As it stands, Ganassi fields Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, and Jimmie Johnson in IndyCar.

McLaren SP’s 2023 roster is currently Pato O’Ward, Andretti incumbent Alexander Rossi, and a seat which had not been filled.

Felix Rosenqvist had been re-signed, but with flexibility over whether he stays in IndyCar or goes over to the new Formula E programme.

With confusion over where Palou will land, even within McLaren, Rosenqvist’s destination is still up in the air.

IndyCar action resumes this Saturday morning (AEST) at Exhibition Place, with Stan Sport’s live and ad-free coverage kicking in on Sunday at 00:00 AEST with Practice 2.

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