Palou refuses to rule out staying at Ganassi in 2023

Alex Palou. Picture: Alex Palou Montalbo Twitter

Alex Palou is non-committal on where, or perhaps even if, he will drive in the 2023 IndyCar Series after winning this year’s season finale for Chip Ganassi Racing.

The 2021 champion finished the 2022 campaign tied for fourth in the series standings but officially fifth on a countback, behind Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin.

That was because McLaughlin won three races to Palou’s one, that being the last of the year at Laguna Seca.

The dominant performance on the final day of the season could prove to be a very ironic occurrence, however, given the ongoing legal battle with Ganassi.

The two parties are apparently still in mediation after Palou publicly stated that he would be driving for the McLaren Racing organisation next year, notwithstanding that his current employer claims to have exercised an option on his services.

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In his post-race television interview, he was asked if he might be back in Car #10 next year.

Palou responded, “Things are evolving good, so we’ll see when we can tell.

“But yeah, we’re going to enjoy the moment now and we’ll see what happens.”

Queried on the matter further in the post-race press conference, he said, “Yeah, they’re waiting to see what happens as all of you guys are.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to share.

“I think everything is moving to the right direction; I don’t know if it’s going to take one day, one week, or one month, but hopefully everything is going to be solved soon.

“As I said, I think I don’t have anything to say clear, but everything is moving in the right direction.”

Awkwardly, Chip Ganassi himself was watching on just metres away during the aforementioned television interview.

The two are on speaking terms, although how openly is questionable, and Palou says they have talked about next year.

Asked if he thinks there is a chance he will stay at the Honda-powered squad after all, he said, “Yeah, we’ll see.

“When I know… I wish I could tell you guys, like ‘Hey, yeah, I’m doing this.’

“But I don’t have an answer yet. Maybe tomorrow.”

McLaren’s Formula 1 team is now full for 2023, although a race seat there was apparently never a serious option so soon, meaning the McLaren SP IndyCar squad would be the destination, depending on how the legal wrangle is resolved.

At Laguna Seca, Palou won by 30 seconds after 95 laps of racing, of which the latter 53 were run in green flag conditions, despite starting 11th due to a grid penalty for an unapproved engine change.

He managed to disappear up the road despite the Californian circuit’s ageing surface chewing up tyres at a rapid rate.

“We knew it was going to be a tough, tough race, even before coming here this weekend, because we tested here,” said the 25-year-old.

“Then we kind of had good sessions, bad sessions during the weekend.

“We ended up really good in the Warm Up, super-happy with the car today, [but] with that engine penalty, we just knew it was going to be a bit tougher, at least the first stint.

“But, to be honest, our car was on rails today, didn’t struggle with tyre deg like we did at Portland and the last couple of races, so I don’t know, but I’m happy that we ended this way.”

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