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Alex Palou

Source: PHOTO: Karl Zemlin/Penske Entertainment

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — On Friday, Alex Palou said to reporters that he will reveal his future plans by the end of the season.

On Friday, less than 24 hours from the start of the Gallagher Grand Prix on the IMS road course, the Associated Press first reported that Palou “does not intend to honor” his contract for next year with McLaren Racing.

Last year, Palou was engulfed in a messy contract dispute between him, Chip Ganassi Racing, and McLaren Racing. The end game for Palou appeared to be an eventual ride in Formula 1 with McLaren.

Through mediation, Ganassi, McLaren, and Palou came to an arrangement for Palou to return to Ganassi for the last year of his contract in IndyCar while also acting as a reserve driver for McLaren F1.

Palou even sported the McLaren orange in that capacity at the Miami Grand Prix earlier this year and also tested McLaren’s F1 car at Budapest.

“This is incredibly disappointing, considering the commitment (Alex) has made to us both directly and publicly and our significant investment in him based on that commitment,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in a letter, according to the AP. “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.

“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.”

Monaco Increase Management (MIM), which is the management firm that represents Palou and helped mediate the arrangement last year between Palou, Ganassi, and McLaren, released a statement on the situation late Friday:

“Monaco Increase Management is bitterly disappointed to learn about Alex Palou’s decision to break an existing agreement with McLaren for 2024 and beyond. Together, we built a relationship that we thought went beyond any contractual obligation and culminated in winning the 2021 IndyCar crown and tracing a path to F1 opportunities. Life goes on and we wish Alex all the next for his future achievements.”

As for where things stand now, there has been no comment on the situation from Palou either to reporters or on social media. CGR owner Chip Ganassi released this statement on Saturday:

“Anyone that knows men 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,” Ganassi said. “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 a sizable 84-point lead in the IndyCar championship standings over Josef Newgarden heading into Saturday’s race. He’s vying for his second IndyCar Series championship in the last three years.

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