McLaren driver admits guilt in $23 million lawsuit

McLaren and the driver are engaged in a lawsuit over a controversial contract dispute.

Reigning IndyCar Champion Alex Palou has admitted that he violated his contract with McLaren, which has resulted in a $23 million lawsuit against him.

Palou admitted that he ‘renounced his contractual obligations’ in court, as he “lost trust and confidence” that the Woking-based team had the intentions on helping him get into Formula 1.

McLaren are suing Palou for the whopping figure in damages and for the amount they believe they’ll lose in sponsorship, as a result of the Spaniard dropping out of his contract.

As well as this, the fee covers the amount of money McLaren feel they’ve put into his development, a $400,000 advance on his 2024 salary and what they’ve spent shaping him to become a reserve driver.

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Palou had agreed to ditch Chip Ganassi Racing for McLaren in IndyCar, with the contract also including an obligation for him to be the team’s official F1 reserve driver.

The Spanish driver has made it clear that he would love a career in F1 but decided to extend his deal with Chip Ganassi Racing by a further three years after believing that McLaren wouldn’t do what they promised him.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown was informed last August that Palou had broken his new contract and had extended his deal with Chip Ganassi Racing until the end of 2026, much to his disappointment.

Palou has now agreed that he did breach his contract in a 20-page document to the High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court, which details why he backed out.

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Palou’s statement explained that he “lost trust and confidence that [McLaren] genuinely intended to support his ambition to race in the Formula One Series and decided to continue racing with CGR in the Indy Car Series instead.”

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The IndyCar driver ‘therefore admits that he renounced his contractual obligations’ with McLaren, adding: “the real issue between the parties is as to the quantum of any damages which the Defendants are liable to pay.”

Since losing Palou, McLaren have stressed that his departure could result in revenue losses for the team, a claim Palou’s legal team have labelled as “embarrassing”.

Palou’s statement continued: “This claim is embarrassing for want of particularity and speculative in the extreme. The performance of any team in a future Indy Car Series cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. Driver performance is variable.”